Skip to comments.Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands
Posted on 11/16/2011 6:56:44 AM PST by Second Amendment First
Gun owners who have historically been able to use public lands for target practice would be barred from potentially millions of acres under new rules drafted by the Interior Department, the first major move by the Obama administration to impose limits on firearms.
Officials say the administration is concerned about the potential clash between gun owners and encroaching urban populations who like to use same land for hiking and dog walking.
"It's not so much a safety issue. It's a social conflict issue," said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites "freak out" when they hear shooting on public lands. [Read about the subpoena issued as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.]
If the draft policy is finally approved, some public access to Bureau lands to hunters would also be limited, potentially reducing areas deer, elk, and bear hunters can use in the West.
Conservationists and hunting groups, however, are mounting a fight. One elite group of conservationists that advises Interior and Agriculture is already pushing BLM to junk the regulations, claiming that shooters are being held to a much higher safety standard than other users of public lands, such as ATV riders.
"They are just trying to make it so difficult for recreational shooters," said Gary Kania, vice president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. His group is one of several, including the National Wildlife Foundation, Cabela's and Ducks Unlimited, on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council fighting the new rules. During a two-day meeting ending this afternoon, they are drafting their own changes to the BLM rules.
"What we probably are going to be looking forward to is a reversal," said Kania. Asked about how to handle people who freak out when they hear shots on public lands, Kania said, "I don't know how to quanitify 'freaking out,'" and noted that he's seen people panicing when fly fishing in float tubes but nobody wants to ban then from rivers.
BLM actually invited the fight, seeking the council's comments. But officials suggested to Whispers that no changes are being planned to the draft regulations.
Over five pages, the draft BLM regulations raise concerns about how shooting can cause a "public disturbance." They also raise worries about how shooting and shooters can hurt plants and litter public lands.
This is the key paragraph foes say could lead to shooters being kicked off public lands:
"When the authorized officer determines that a site or area on BLM-managed lands used on a regular basis for recreational shooting is creating public disturbance, or is creating risk to other persons on public lands; is contributing to the defacement, removal or destruction of natural features, native plants, cultural resources, historic structures or government and/or private property; is facilitating or creating a condition of littering, refuse accumulation and abandoned personal property is violating existing use restrictions, closure and restriction orders, or supplementary rules notices, and reasonable attempts to reduce or eliminate the violations by the BLM have been unsuccessful, the authorized officer will close the affected area to recreational shooting." [Check out new Debate Club about whether Congress needs to overhaul gun trafficking laws.]
Squeezing out shooters, says the draft policy, is needed because, "As the West has become more populated, recreational shooters now often find themselves in conflict with other public lands users, and the BLM is frequently called on to mediate these conflicts."
At yesterday's meeting at Interior, the council balked at the BLM draft regulations, adding that the Obama administration was not being fair to shooters on the issue of safety.
In a draft retort to BLM, the council said other users of public land aren't required to be as safe as shooters. They note that shooters have a much lower injury rate than others, like ATV users. "The policy fails to recognize that recreational shooting has one of the lowest incidences of death and injury compared to virtually any other outdoor recreational activity. The policy is prejudicial and discriminatory to target shooters as compared to other recreationists," said the council's draft response, expected to be finalized today.
What's more, the group charged that the BLM is acting in a contradictory fashion, encouraging the shooting sports while limiting shooting areas.
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Enter the words above: Your comment will be posted immediately, unless it is spam or contains profanity. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ. Well, heck, let's ban electric cars on public lands, because I freak out when I suddenly see some city person comes barreling down a road in their electric car and I can't hear them coming because they run so quietly. Let's ban hikers on public lands because they crush plants and that hurts more plants than a few bullets which are generally aimed at dirt for target practice. Let's ban boats on public waters because they scare the fish. Let's ban all humans from public lands due to any damage they might do and because meeting another human on public land could cause the other human to freak out. However, by all means, let's NOT ban OWS protestors from taking over private or public property, because even if other people freak out when they defecate on that property, or rape women, they support the Democratic party, so they should be allowed to do anything. Obama....hands off our gun rights!!!
JOHNDD of NM 9:44AM November 16, 2011 [report comment] This country is about to fall off a very high cliff into a totalitarian bowl of poo-poo! Grab your bonnet!
RIGHTSTUFF of TX 9:43AM November 16, 2011 [report comment] I'll consider this the day that the Obama Administration does something about the encroachment of the Mexican drug cartels into the public lands in the southern states. There are literally state parks that we're advised not to enter. THAT is a real threat to the public.
Btw, I'm not a hunter and not into gun sports. I just see the massive disconnect and shake my head. The government is rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic is sinking. It's ridiculous.
"Common sense gun regulation" by obama.
Then stay the hell in your damn urban environment!
my neighbor cross the road freaked out when he heard me shooting on my land. I wish he could sell his house so he could move back to the city
I don't always shoot hikers or dog walkers... but when I do, it is always on public land.
Hey, works... for me!
Whatever else this is, it is not smart politics.
Second Amendment voters caused Al Gore to lose his home state.
Energizing them with a General Election coming up, very dumb in my view.
And he wants to win Colorado again?
The daily outrages by this Keynan turd just never stop.
Urbanites walk their dogs on BLM land? I live in a state with a large portion of BLM land. I hunt on the BLM, (though never for dog walking urbanites, when are they in season?)I four-wheel on it and the closest thing I see to some Denver yuppie walking his dog is a cowboy on a cattle drive. This excuse to increase regulation on gun owners is ludicrous.
The Suicide of Marlboro Man:
Who in the heck died and made this jug-eared, maladroit, witchdoctor, the “Pretenda from Kenya” king? He is nothing but a Communist who is charged with the destruction of America. Sen Joseph McCarthy was right. We don’t need Shiva, the “Destroyer of Worlds,” good old jug-ears is doing a dang good job of it.
I moved to rural Kentucky a few months ago after living in Seattle for several decades. I hear gunfire all the time. Other than the very rare bullet whizzing by my head it is a refreshing reminder that I am in a place where men are still free.
Well, that and being able to burn all my garbage.
Awwwwwwww. They care. They REALLY care!
I hear about more people in the inner city being hit by stray bullets than on BLM by a huge margin. This is just BS.
Meant to ping you Joe, but got sidetracked.
Then the urbanites should stay the fsck out. The shooters were there first. Just like a lib to make the earlier users step aside to protect the unjustified fears of later users, who chose to start using those lands when this was already being done. D'oh! Oxygen thieves! (The bureaucrats, not the city people)
He adds that urbanites "freak out" when they hear shooting on public lands.
And his proposed rule will make sure they don't GET acclimated to living along side this wholesome activity. Which I'm sure suits his statist tyrannical agenda just fine.
He won the suit to to get an injunction and now the Feds are debating how much of the area to close to hunting/shooting and snowmobiling.
The A-hole doesn't even live there, he has a vacation cabin in the area.