Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

The latest news from Deer & Deer Hunting magazine!
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:15 am
Location: Wisconsin

Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Postby Oakarver » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:29 am

Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands
November 16, 2011

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.


Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:15 am
Location: Wisconsin


Postby Oakarver » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:10 am

Shooters Heard: Interior Will Not Ban Target Practice
November 17, 2011

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 fishing—on 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 others—to 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 fishing—on 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 agencies—and is not the subject of these discussions.


Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:42 am

Re: Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Postby deerslayer333 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:03 pm

Can't target practice on public ground in Ohio and it's been that way for a long time and I've lived here since 2003 and it's been that way ever since I've lived here. Not sticking up for the man I'm just saying it's happening everywhere all the time.
One shot, one kill. Semper Fi.

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 7:33 pm

Re: Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Postby webdesigners » Wed May 29, 2013 7:40 pm

Extremely grateful for this support and then believe you know what a great job that you are accomplishing instructing many others with the aid of your webpage. Probably you haven't encountered all of us. Visit my sitegay web designers ireland

User avatar
Posts: 2682
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:01 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Postby kellory » Thu May 30, 2013 4:48 am

The only real difference between a good tracker and a bad tracker is observation. All the same data is present for both. The rest is understanding what you are seeing.

User avatar
Woods Walker
Posts: 4945
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: Obama Pushing Shooters Off Public Lands

Postby Woods Walker » Thu May 30, 2013 7:16 pm

Gee...ya think? ;)
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

NRA Endowment Life Member

Return to Breaking News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests