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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:43 AM Sun, Dec. 16th

Four rules of firearm safety apply to all

Yavapai County is fortunate to have Gunsite, the world's first and best firearms training center.

The four rules of firearms safety that the late founder Col. Jeff Cooper established are in sight no matter where one is on the grounds of the 2,000-acre complex:

• All guns are always loaded.

• Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.

• Never put your finger on the trigger until your sights are on the target.

• Always be sure of your target and what's behind it.

Anyone who violates these rules makes a hasty exit from the property.

And if anyone should know and apply the rules, a trained, sworn police officer should.

This week the Veterans Administration Medical Center placed one of its police officers on paid leave, and the Yavapai County Attorney's Office charged him with a felony count of disorderly conduct and two misdemeanors of endangerment because Prescott Police say he violated at least three of those rules.

Police say that Eric Van Leeuwen pointed his department-issued Beretta pistol in jest at a fellow officer who is recuperating from a knee injury, hinting he could fix the injury by shooting it. Two other officers were in the line of fire had the gun gone off.

The officer deserves his presumption of innocence and day in court, but it's ridiculous that such a case even is beginning a journey through the system.