The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking to reduce public access to Bureau land. The reduction in access would only apply to shooting sports activities. According to the Department of the Interior,
“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.
I cannot believe how self-righteous public servants have become in this great country (although my Dad tells me it’s always been this way). I’m just so glad we have overpaid bureaucrats that make dumb laws so dumb people never have to feel scared.
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.”
I will agree that there is a cultural divide between urban and rural populations, but catering to the lowest common denominator (the hoplophobe urbanite) brings everyone down. While this does seem to be a theme in America, I don’t believe it’s good for anyone.
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.
The fact is, it’s not about safety. The BLM is pandering to the squeakiest wheel. Sadly, the squeakiest wheel is often manufactured by the same people that grease it. I have been shooting on BLM property since I was a child. I have seen hunters, recreational shooters, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), joggers, hikers, campers, freaks, geeks, and everything in between. The one thing that all these people had in common was appreciation for the freedom that BLM property allows. Never once have I heard someone “freak out” when they heard shooting. And anytime I encounter something on BLM property that makes me feel uncomfortable, I simply move somewhere else.