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Well that was fast. It seems that the Bureau of Land Management experienced a tad more blowback than they’d imagined with their proposed new rules that would have booted shooters from millions of acres of public lands they manage. Evidently all that dreaded “social conflict” isn’t as bad as they’d thought. Paul Bedard of says, “…the Interior Department today said it would make sure shooters still have access to lands long available for firearms recreation.”

Can you say, ‘backpedal’?

“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.

They’re not ruling out closing areas that are “too close to houses or areas of urban growth.” And the final rules could still leave room for mischief if written too broadly. But in 24 hours, Interior has gone from saying there won’t be any changes in the draft regulations to promising that the committee of shooters advocates’ “concerns will be addressed in a ‘redraft’ of the guidelines.” What a difference a day makes.

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  1. It seems like another Federal strongarm agency has gotten religion. With it’s entire bloated budget on the legislative table, I guess that the BLM figured out that this is no time to be pissing-off anyone.

  2. The BLM is by and large a pretty good agency. We don’t see them much (at all) here in the East. Out West, they’re everywhere.

    I’ve always been of the “take only pictures, leave only footprints” sort. Leave no trace, for me, is a heartfelt ethic. Having spent a considerable amount of time wandering about the West over the last few decades, and being somewhat of a misanthrope, I’ve got to tell ya that I can empathize with the restricting of shooters (and ignorant, self absorbed ATV’ers, hippies/new-age cultists, Joe six-pack trailer trash “campers”, litterers of all sorts, desecrators of every stripe) and keeping “them” off of our public lands. To me, our public lands are the Crown Jewels of our nation. I don’t shit in your living room or mine, I don’t expect anyone else to shit in my cathedral; and if you do I expect you to clean up after yourself. It’s just common decency and courtesy.

    I’ve seen ancient petroglyphs shot up, Suguaros riddled with bullet holes, springs fouled, archeological sites robbed and defaced, litter in the most remote and unlikely places and far too many other abominations than I’d care to list here. Some people just ain’t got manners or a lick of common sense.

    If you want to shoot on public lands, fine; I’ve got no problem with anyone creating a future lead deposit. Just show some respect for the other folks that will surely come after you. Don’t shoot up the countryside indiscriminately. Pick up your litter and your brass; reduce, reuse, recycle. Don’t be a shithead. Don’t give the “other side” more grist for their mill to further restrict our rights and portray us as moronic, paleolithic assholes.

  3. The current masters may get booted next November, this may have weighed in their decision. Or else someone made a phonecall and told them to knock it off. All these agencies have a representative sitting on top of them that pats them on the head.

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