courtesy of MN Department of Natural Resources

Firearms safety instructor Dave Olson of Owatonna was recently recognized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for his years of safety training that now includes four generations of his own family. All three of his daughters took the training, as have two of his grandchildren. Recently great-granddaughter Brooklyn took the course with Olson handling the field day certification.

Olson grew up on the farm and was introduced to guns at an early age, but his mother insisted he take the safety course when it originated in the 1950's.

Olson had a personal connection to a firearms tragedy that still touches him to this day. When he was a young man, a couple of neighborhood kids went hunting and at some point set a gun against a tree. The gun fell and went off, striking one of the boys in the neck and killing him.

Now 77 years old, Olson says in a DNR news release, "That's what started my involvement in firearms safety. Things like that should never happen."

Olson has been a certified instructor since 1966, one of 4,000 such volunteers across the state. Over a million students have taken the safety course. The news release states, "The results have been dramatic, with decreasing numbers of firearms-related hunting incidents since the program began."

In 1991, the state legislature mandated the course for anyone born after December 31, 1979 that wished to purchase a hunting license.

Go here for more information on firearms safety training through the Minnesota DNR. My family has its own near tragedy. My father-in-law was hunting when he was a kid in Texas. While climbing through a fence someone's gun went off and shot him in the leg. Various complications over the years have left him dealing with the accident ever since.

The included photo includes four generations of Dave Olson's family (from left to right), granddaughter Amber Lacher, Olson, great-granddaughter Brooklyn Lacher and daughter Margo Bauck.