Collins board hears complaint of gun range

COLLINS – Residents have concerns about the Collins Correctional Facility allegedly shooting AR-15 rifles. Mark Hoffman, who lives on upper Buffalo Street, came to the town board about his concern.

Hoffman said at the correctional facility, rifles are being used at the shooting range. According to Hoffman, the facility has been using the shooting range since the mid-1990s.

“It’s clearly not designed for high-powered assault rifles and they shoot toward the village of Gowanda,” Hoffman said.

Councilmember Janet Vogtli said she has seen the firing range and it does not seem very secure to her. She said there is no fence and anyone can walk onto the firing range.

Supervisor David Tessmer was concerned about the range and said residents were allegedly being threatened. Hoffman said he was told he could not go back on the property or the police would be called.

“I think this is a big concern wholeheartedly,” Tess-mer said. “The part that is more disturbing is our citizens are being threatened and harassed.”

Members of the town board also reached out to State Sen. Patrick Gallivan’s office, who told the town the prison was no longer shooting assault rifles. Vogtli said the Gowanda Correctional Facility travels to Eden to utilize a shooting range.

An email provided to the OBSERVER stated range shooting “has been temporarily suspended at this time, while certain improvements are undertaken to further increase the safety of staff and the surrounding community.”

The email was sent to Gallivan’s office from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The town board agreed to send a letter to both Collins and Gowanda Correctional Facility superintendents to have a meeting regarding the shooting range.

The town accepted the resignation of Jeff Johnson as recreation director and approved elimination of the parks and recreation advisory committee. The town also accepted Scott Martindale’s resignation as custodian and appointed Rhiannon Starks to the position; James Smith was appointed as an alternate. The town will also send a letter of intent to Helmuth Fire member communities.

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