Skip to comments.Shooters Heard: Interior Will Not Ban Target Practice
Posted on 11/18/2011 5:55:19 AM PST by marktwain
Under fire from gun owners concerned about draft guidelines that could limit areas for target practice on western public lands, the Interior Department today said it would make sure shooters still have access to lands long available for firearms recreation.
"Our goal is to leave lands open to shooting," said an Interior official for the Bureau of Land Management, which is drafting guidelines to deal with the growing clash between skittish urbanites moving to western wilderness areas and America's tradition of letting gun owners shoot targets on public lands. [Read: Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands.]
"We don't want to have to close any areas," said an official as BLM provided Washington Whispers with a statement clarifying the developing guidelines.
"We are in no way interested in banning recreational target shooting, hunting, or fishingon the contrary, our goal is to develop guidance that will help land managers maximize and preserve opportunities for recreational shooting," said the BLM statement.[Read about the subpoena issued as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.]
However, the official said it is possible that areas previously used for target practice that are too close to houses or areas of urban growth could be put off limits. The new plan would be to provide shooters with a map or guide on where they can go for target practice nearby, said the official.
"It's the difference of driving two minutes [to shoot] or 15 minutes," said the official.
Whispers reported on the controversy yesterday. A committee of conservationists and outdoors groups advising BLM has expressed outrage over the developing guidelines, charging that BLM is making it hard for shooters to practice on public lands, which has a long tradition in the West. The Interior official said that the committee's concerns will be addressed in a "redraft" of the guidelines.
[Check out new Debate Club about whether Congress needs to overhaul gun trafficking laws.]
The story, promoted on the Drudge Report and Fox Nation, had gun owners up in arms.
Below is the full BLM statement to Whispers:
The Department of the Interior fully supports and encourages hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on America's public lands. Nearly 400,000 hunters visit Bureau of Land Management lands every year, generating an estimated $785 million in economic output. The vast majority of BLM's 245 million acres is open to recreational shooting, and we want to keep it that way.
The BLM wants to protect opportunities for recreational shooting on public lands and reduce the possibility for conflicts that in the past have resulted in some recreational shooting closures. That is why we are currently working with the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC)which includes representatives from sportsmen's organizations, the outdoor recreation industry, state resource agencies and othersto develop guidance to protect long-term access to recreational target shooting.
We are at the early stages of our work with the WHHCC and will be guided by their input and recommendations. We are in no way interested in banning recreational target shooting, hunting, or fishingon the contrary, our goal is to develop guidance that will help land managers maximize and preserve opportunities for recreational shooting. It is important to note that hunting and fishing on public lands is managed by state fish and game agenciesand is not the subject of these discussions.
There are real problems with people who drag out trash to shoot at, then leave the trash there. In part, it seems to be a cultural thing, as cultures from south of the border seem far less concerned with trash than those north of the border. Any traveler can confirm this observation.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Yup, if nothing else it’s a target!
In the east we have had the problem for years of the occupy style shooter, he carries trash to the range, throws it all around, never picks up his spent brass and uses the frame work holding the target as his target because he is to damn dumb to bring a paper target with him. Not to mention the duck-tail crowd that want to shoot at beer cans and bottles. And the whining about riding four wheeler, it is also illegal in most states to ride a four wheeler on national forest.
It does appear to be a cultural clash. As usual, it is the trailer park, vinyl sided, mullet wearing lip smacker that causes a problem for the remainder of us.
IOW the administration was trying to ban shooting by maximizing inconvenience.
A number of shooters in Colo Springs, too, set up trash like old washing machines and TV’s as targets. They leave the remains, of course, after they are done. Regularly, local shooters would go to Rampart Range for clean-up day. Once, while participating in the clean-up activities, I discovered a dirty diaper on the range—pretty disgusting—but the worst trash was broken glass as it was difficult and dangerous to pick-up and dispose of. Now I have received a report that Rampart Range is no longer open to shooters.
Despite the trash and trashy behavior of some shooters, the loss of access to ranges in natl forests is unacceptable. Bar “urbanites” from settling within two miles of any public range. Post signs warning “urbanites” that “Americans may be exercising their rights in this forest. If frightened, you are encouraged to watch TV.” Although I regret that the gov’t overspends on less-than-efficient employees, perhaps retraining of some gov’t employees could begin with reassigning them to range clean-up and management duties. Maybe they could set my targets.