FAIRFAX, VA -- The National Rifle Association (NRA) will fight the proposal by the Obama administration and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to drastically restrict recreational shooting opportunities on public lands. The NRA is particularly concerned about the stated motive of this action. A spokesman for the BLM told U.S. News and World Report that the proposed ban was being enacted in response to "urbanites" who "freak out" when they hear shooting on public lands. The spokesman also acknowledged that the impetus for this restriction was not rooted in safety, rather it was introduced to reduce "social conflict."
"This proposal is yet another example of the Obama administration's contempt for gun owners and America's shooting sports heritage," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Active. "Federal lands provide recreational shooters with an affordable means of enjoying their pastime and that is crucial in these trying economic times. This callous Obama administration proposal would drastically diminish recreational shooting opportunities for millions of people across the country. The shooting sports are an important part of our national culture and must be protected now and for generations to come and NRA will lead this fight as we have for 140 years."
The section of the announcement that concerns millions of shooters across the country reads: “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."
In response to this proposed ban, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona has introduced The Recreational Shooting Protection Act of 2011. This bill will prevent a ban on recreational shooting from taking effect on BLM lands nationwide. The NRA strongly supports this bill and is working hard to ensure support and passage.
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