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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Published: Monday, 5/13/2013

State agency denies Bedford Twp. bid for firearms regulations

BLADE STAFF

The Department of Natural Resources has denied Bedford Township’s request for authorization to regulate hunting and the discharge of firearms within the community.

The Michigan state agency informed township officials that its investigation did not show a need to establish a so-called Hunting Area Control in the township. The department visited Bedford, spoke with law enforcement, reviewed hunting and shooting complaints and accidents, and on Feb. 12 conducted a well-attended public hearing at the township hall before issuing its finding that no township ordinance is needed to address possible problems.

“Basically, overwhelmingly, there was a lack of support, and probably more important, there was a lack of documented incidents where public safety was concerned,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, the involved officer in Lansing. “Before we start restricting folks’ ability to hunt and use firearms, we need things to happen that would lead a reasonable person to believe there was a potential public danger.”

This means the enforcement of existing state regulations is deemed sufficient, he said. Lieutenant Turner’s letter informing township officials of his agency’s decision is posted on the township Web site at bedfordmi.org.

Because Bedford is a general township, it cannot impose restrictions on firearm use without the authorization of the Department of Natural Resources, unlike a city or a village.

The department undertook its investigation at the request of the township board last year, which made its request after then-Trustee Jim Goebel received complaints about a neighbor on Sarah Drive repeatedly engaging in target practice. A new board has taken office since then.

Township Supervisor Greg Stewart said he did not believe the board would take further action on the matter. “It was prudent to make sure we weren’t overstepping and were being safety-conscious. I think this board is satisfied with what they heard from the DNR,” he said.



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