Sunday, October 08, 2006

Losing Open Range

Some people can't or won't join a range. Many are prohibitively expensive or have onerous membership rules and regulations. For many shooters, there are certain states that allow shooting on government land.

A favorite shooting spot in Parts Unknown has just been shut down. No one has been shot, no crimes have been committed and the area is open desert with no redeeming factors. However, while trying to access the area today, I found a large number of "Area Closed" signs. The informal shooting range has been closed down. "For Environmental Protection" the signs said. And what should be attached to the signs? A BLM logo. There is nothing in that area that's worthy of protection or is scientifically significant. The area is desert. The same desert that is all about in the valley.

So, did fringe environmentalists successfully lobby the government - or threaten the government - to shut down the area to protect some little bug? No way of knowing. A clue did surface however as I continued cruising the area looking for a place to shoot. There was an "Available" sign found out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, someone apparently acquired the rights to the property and so has effectively shut down the area. How one goes about acquiring BLM land is no mystery. But the area in question is far enough from the highway that it's inconceivable that someone would buy it for any useful purpose.

Of course I could call the number of the seller and find out more info, but I don't believe it would result in a very friendly call for him. We seem to be gaining gun rights throughout the country, but also seem to be losing places to shoot. So many areas are being opened up for development that open range is disappearing at an alarming rate. Soon we'll be told we can own anything we want, we just can't shoot it....

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