Saturday, October 15, 2011

BLM Wants to Close Land To Shooters

From Fox News ~ Gun enthusiasts are rallying opposition to a string of new federal proposals that could close off hundreds of thousands of acres in the open West to target shooting.

The proposals from the Bureau of Land Management potentially would outlaw target shooting in swaths of public land in Arizona and Colorado as part of a broader conservation planning effort.

Federal officials said shooters are, under the proposals, being herded to different areas because of safety concerns and because -- at least in Arizona -- they've been leaving trash in public parks and damaging the environment with their bullets.

But the National Rifle Association calls the bureau's response "unacceptable," and gun groups say the government doesn't need to go to such lengths to protect its open spaces.

The land "is owned by the public, and it should be available to the public," said Ed Roberts, vice president of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association.

The most sweeping proposals are in southern Arizona, where the bureau has proposed closing the nearly 490,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert National Monument to shooting. The agency has offered several different proposals, including the option of making no changes, but the manager of the land said the preferred option would shut out shooters from the monument.

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