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.
See: the month's best political cartoons. Read more: about Operation Fast and Furious. Check out: our editorial cartoons on President Obama. Tags: Barack Obama, gun control and gun rights « Previous Post Reader Comments Read all comments (31) Add Your Thoughts Comment 3000 characters left Name State Email Please enter the two words below into the text field underneath the image.
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.
Carry on public lands for self protection - yes. Target practice or other types of shooting on public lands - no. Similarly, no farming on public lands.
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 clause that will end shooting on public lands. I agree with most that the danger to bystanders is nil, assuming of course, appropriate location and proper backstop.
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."
As someone who has occasionally used a gravel pit on our own local public land area... "our" stewardship of this land has not been good.
Look at these pictures... Look at the amount of garbage, spent shell casings, shot-up garbage in the range area (an unbelievable amount of glass out there) and crap left behind. Our new targets brought with us are the paper targets, one near and one far against the hill. The rest of course, was already there.
I wondered, when we were there last time, why the state (this is state land) has not shut this site down already. It is a complete mess. The only explanation we could think of was that they were viewing it as a sacrifice area that should be left open lest shooters just go find a new place to junk up. If so... I guess that's smart management.
But it's not real good PR, that this gravel pit is one of the first turnoffs when entering our state forest land. One that people looking for a little time in the outdoors might stumble upon, if they miss the turn to the public trailhead.
If there are places that are at risk of closure, an offer of cleanup and good 'pack it in, pack it out' practices might go a long way toward keeping it open.
Pinging others in the pics with me ;~)
LOL! Well played, sir.
Think about the impact of Obama in his second term. WE will see this kind of sweeping legislation and Executive Order with a strict discipline and agenda. This will be known as Carter and Clinton on Meth! We won't be able to do much about it either. Hunters make up less than 20% of the population.
If all you were after was the shooting and burning all you needed to do was move 100 miles east across the Cascades.
Yeah. But it was more than that. ;)
I was born east of the Cascades, btw.
Some of the best times of my youth were spent in the high desert BLM land east of San Diego, camping and shooting ground squirrels and jack rabbitts. Never saw any hikers or ‘dog walkers’, just the occasional guy panning for gold on his claim.
BO wants to keep federal lands safe for pot growers and illegal aliens....
Sarcasm? You forgot the sarcasm tag?
He adds that urbanites "freak out" when they hear shooting on public lands.
Then they should be required to seek treatment for their mental illness. Hoplophobia is Curable.
It is a gravel pit, not Mount Rushmore. Other than shooting, there isn’t a reason to stop there at all.
It is a garbage dump. And now, useless as a gravel pit. (you want that as your road bed?) If you don’t see that as a problem, then that’s why these sites will close. They’re being abused.
These places don’t take care of themselves. People have to be responsible with them.
The riding trails around the same area are maintained with much volunteer effort by the users. Brush is cut back, poop and garbage is removed from the trailhead.
Users of the shooting area would be wise to do the same. Adopt a gravel pit. Clean up the visible garbage, and you might be surprised that more people wouldn’t pack out their own. Right now, it looks like a lost cause, and people treat it that way.
Metrosexual #2: "I don't know but I just spilled my lait on my L. L. Bean cardigan."
Metrosexual #3: "I don't know about you guys but I am headed back to the Prius. It could be those teabaggers out shooting those evil guns again. When are they going to outlaw those mean things?"
The vast majority of BLM land is a garbage dump. That is why no one else wanted it.
That site is fine for shooting. Use it as such, and ignore it if you don’t want to shoot.
I don’t ride my horses on a shooting range, and most shooters don’t shoot out on riding trails.
The riding trails aren’t near the gravel pit, you’re missing the point. The point was an example of good stewardship by the users of those areas, to keep them nice.
I obviously like to shoot. We don’t have the right to treat public lands as a garbage dump.
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.
It’s gun control...pure and simple.
BINGO on post 17 for the best one.