The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Dave Olson of Owatonna as the 2019 firearms safety instructor of the year.

A firearms safety instructor since 1966, Olson has helped more than 1,200 people earn their firearms safety certification.

“It’s hard to sufficiently express our appreciation for the dedication of the volunteers who make our firearms safety program the success that it is,” said conservation officer Chad Davis, who is stationed in Owatonna. “Not only has Dave spent a lifetime helping people in the Owatonna area be safe around firearms, but his contribution to making hunting safer throughout the state can’t be overstated. His dedication is incredible.”

In 1991, Olson testified at the state Legislature as part of a successful effort to require firearms safety certification prior to purchasing a license to hunt in Minnesota. As a result of that law, anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, is required to have firearms safety certification in order to buy a hunting license in Minnesota.

Olson is among the 4,000 volunteer firearms safety instructors who work with DNR conservation officers to deliver firearms safety training certification. For details on safety courses and training, go to the DNR’s hunter education and safety page. For tips on safe firearms handling, go to the DNR’s basic rules of hunter and firearms safety page.