Message from the Sheriff

From the Desk of Sheriff Mark A. Podoll

 Topic: Firearms Safety

On Saturday, July 25th, 2015, just after the noon hour, our County Combined Tactical Unit was paged out for a weapons related situation. Thankfully, the Tactical Team call-out was soon after cancelled, however, an important lesson can be learned from this incident – let me explain.

In the later morning hours of that Saturday, some Green Lake County residents decided to target practice at their rural property – perfectly legal and a legitimate sport. Targets were set up on the lower edge of a hill and numerous rounds were fired from rifles and handguns. Unknown to the target shooters was that the neighboring property owner, who owns the top of the hill, was working on the land with family members. Some of the bullets ricocheted off of debris and traveled upward, causing a hazardous situation for the family on the top of the hill. Law enforcement was called and arrived; the situation was made safe, and then investigated.

The right to firearms is absolute; the responsibility that comes with that right is also absolutely with the one who fires the round(s). While no charges will be filed as a result of this incident, this encounter leads directly to a solid set of reminders - firearms safety. Firearms safety is practiced by my staff on a daily basis and should be by everyone. The Sheriff’s Office joins with many sports and conservation clubs in advocating the rules of firearms safety noted below:

 (TABK)- “Firearms Safety Rules”

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  2. Always point the firearm in a safe direction.
  3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.
  4. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.

(Source/ International Hunter Education Association)

The problem with the incident on that Saturday was failing to provide an appropriate backstop and rules #2 and #3 above. A good measure of neighborly cooperation might also have been needed.

Making good safe decisions is in everyone’s best interest.

Practicing firearms safety is a must.    

 
Mark A. Podoll, Sheriff

Green Lake County

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