Shooters Heard: Interior Will Not Ban Target Practice Do you believe them?
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.
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