The is considering allowing DNR 2nd Lieutenant Alex Gutierrez to conduct a firearms safety training course inside city limits.
To bring the training to fruition, however, the City Council must first approve the amendment of a public ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm inside Inver Grove Heights.
Inver Grove Heights resident Vance Grannis, Sr.—father of city councilman 'Chip' Grannis—contacted Gutierrez and volunteered to host the training on a portion of his property.
Gutierrez explained to councilors Monday night that the training would be open to everyone and would be a "controlled environment with certified firearms safety instructors on site."
Gutierrez also said the classes would be limited to .22 caliber firearms and to 30 people per class.
Councilman Dennis Madden was clearly in favor of the proposition.
"I think it's a lot better for people to realize what firearms can do and get the proper training to know how to use them," Madden told Gutierrez.
He added: "If there's any of these anti-gun folks out there, it's a lot better if [users] have respect for the weapon and know how to use it. I think it's a great idea and I'd like to see more training done, with the young people especially."
Councilman Bill Klein brought up a potential hurdle facing the initiative.
"It's an outdoor facility, right?" Klein asked rhetorically. "So, like down in South St. Paul, you're going to hear these shots going off from about 5 o'clock to 9 o'clock at night—mostly in the Summer and on the weekends."
Gutierrez explained that while the classes do take place on weekends, they are usually held in the mornings to maximize availability for parents who'd like to enroll their children.
"The potential site is about a half-mile to the nearest neighbor through a heavily-wooded area. I'm fairly certain that no one is going to hear anything," Gutierrez added.
Councilwoman Rosemary Piekarski-Krech addressed the issue of public safety when she asked about the power and range of a .22 caliber bullet.
Gutierrez explained that the range of .22 calibre firearm is "about a mile" but that the inertia of the projectile at that distance "would barely break skin." He added: "Even at 50 yards, the impact of a .22 calibre bullet goes into the ground maybe about an inch."
Mayor George Tourville explained that before the City Council could take any action on the issue, it must first be approved and recommended by the IGH Planning Commission.
It is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission sometime in June.