Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Deserved Slap on the Wrist

Go down to my "Taxation Without Representation" post and read the long comment. Basically, a Fish-&-Game guy ripped me a new oriface, and I'd say that I deserved it.

Here's a little of what he said:
I can can state unequivocally that we are not working to "end shooting on public lands." Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are working hard to keep public lands open, but this is increasingly difficult since so many shooters are absolute pigs. Your previous suggestion that illegal dumping is the real problem is absolute b*llsh**t. Every time I visit an unofficial range" on nearby National Forest I fill a couple trash bags with beer cans/bottles, brass, hulls, ammo boxes, and various and sundry well perforated items brought in for that purpose alone. And then there are the liability issues, as all those new trophy homes pop up near our favorite shooting spots.
Okay, his points are spot-on. But so are mine...I said, and I stand by it, that the "broken windows" theory is a reality — if a place looks like a dump, it will be treated as a dump, including by brainless shooters. There are solutions to this problem, but it involves a partnership between the federal agencies and the shooting organizations — exactly the same partnership that now exists between the primary mountain bike organization and the various federal agencies. For reasons I don't understand, this gets shrugged off by both sides. Mea culpa.

And I do accept that Colorado is different than Arizona, and, yes, I did forget that Ben Avery, where I've shot numerous times, is owned by F&G. I do believe, however, that the program being run in Colorado is a pilot program; the Front Range of Colorado is the most liberal area in the West and the area most under pressure from urbanization/suburbanization. It's the area where an antigun program is most likely to work. And it is working just fine. I also want to say that withing the F&G and USFS "community" — including people I've shot with for years — not one single voice has been raised in defense of shooters. Not one. When I pushed one of my friends on it, he said, in essence, that he liked his job and would like to keep it. I understand that; I don't much like it, but I do understand it.

Frankly, on the issue of shooting on public lands, I wash my hand of it. Whatever happens in the Front Range happens. We get what we deserve.

My apologies to you, sir, and your F&G colleagues, for tarring you all with the same brush.

HOWEVER, on that $523 million generated by taxes on shooters and hunters, WE SHOOTERS ARE DUE MUCH MORE THAN THE LEFTOVERS WE GET BECAUSE IT IS OUR MONEY!

There is enough money from the excise tax to build and operate a Ben Avery-sized range in EVERY STATE, which would take a huge amount of pressure off the USFS shooting on public lands issue. There is enough money to upgrade existing ranges, to attract and train new sport shooters (which will lead to more hunters), to help GROW OUR SPORTS, which will make us that much stronger. Personally, I think formal ranges are a much better solution than informal ranges if for no other reason than safety.

But that is not where the bulk, or even a substantial percentage, of the money is going!

That has nothing to do with F&G agencies. It is a simple truth that the people who PONY UP THE MONEY deserve to have some say in HOW THE MONEY IS USED. I think that it is 'way past time for sone of the agencies who distribute the money to ask what the shooting and hunting communities priorites actually are. Should we acquire more land for habitat or build new shooting ranges?

If we want to do both, how should the moneys be allocated? Do you actually believe that if the wishes of the shooting community were included that only 8% of the money collected would go to "Hunter Safety and Shooting Range Programs" while 55% goes to "Sport Fish Restoration?"

Again, sir, I apologize for dis'sing you. But taxation without representation is still tyranny.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not mind, so much, how the money is spent. I object that it is collected at all.

Excise taxes are in the same category as poll taxes and should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

The FET is needed but it is needed for the purpose of growing the shooting sports. It is about time that companies like Glock, Smith & Wesson, Kahr, Sigarms, Kimber and others demand that the money they send the government from the sale of their pistols be used to further the shooting agenda that impacts their business.

As for Mr. Forest Service that got offended, suck it up. If you want to run a clean shooting range and actually care about keeping it running then approach the shooting community to help take some of the responsibility.

Anonymous said...

You and I had a talk about this many years ago. I expressed then that the government should be doing more for shooters - principally having more Ben Avery sorts of ranges. The various governements (city, county, state and federal) have parks and other recreational areas, so why aren't there more shooting ranges? It would better serve the public.

Perhaps a Shooting Gallery episode on Ben Avery - stressing that it is governement owned - would wake up many that may not be acquainted with government ranges.

Take care.

Guy

Anonymous said...

"F&G Guy" here again.

Your forthright and timely response was much appreciated and a great illustration of why the blogosphere is rising and legacy media is heading for the dungheap.

By the way, I totally agree w/you on allocation of Pittman-Robertson excise tax revenues on guns & ammo. Shooting sports have been getting chump change and that must change. Speaking of chump change, here's my $0.02 as to how... While G&F agencies have a myriad of constituents, most states have a handfull of small, but well-connected, well-organized, and issue-focused sportsman's groups whose influence over agency priorities can be HUGE. It seems the shooting sports community could follow this model and become much more powerful. Any light you could shed on this Michael, would be welcome.

The Infozone said...

Some shooters are our own worst enemies. Let Mom and Pop take their new SUV onto a country road on a Sunday afternoon to test the 4x4 out, and they can see road signs shot up.

If they found a range, the image a few idiots leave with a huge mess and all, would hurt all of us.

TIZ

Anonymous said...

"...most states have a handfull of small, but well-connected, well-organized, and issue-focused sportsman's groups whose influence over agency priorities can be HUGE."

This would be lobbying, yes?

And lobbying involves transfers of funds.
YOU (not you personaly, but *you* as in the federal gov't) ALREADY HAVE OUR MONEY!!!
Now you suggest we pony up some more?

To borrow a phrase, "I don't think so, Tim..."

How do you lobby a bureaucrat anyway? There is no campaign fund to donate to... Or are you recomending straight bribery?
(Lobbyests do that too...)
Sign me SD

Anonymous said...

The shooting world has plenty of organisations, which have large and well funded lobbying operations.

What’s needed is to get them to make F&G departments a priority lobbying target

Anonymous said...

F&G are servants if this lazy A$$ doesn't want to bend over and pick a little trash, then sissy boy needs to find another job.

We the people own this country and the government works for US.

Aaron Zelman said in an interview on the Alex Jones (www.infowars.com or www.prisonplanet.com ) show 5-10-06 that the ATF is claiming that semi-autos with the characteristic's of a full auto is a full auto even though it is still semi-auto

Anonymous said...

Just how is F&G guy "working hard to keep public lands open"?
I agree that slob shooters are a very big cog in this wheel. But are they as big as someone who wets their panties when they hear a gunshot in the desert on the outskirts of town? Do they tell those that complain "Get over it, it's legal."
I seriously doubt it.

Mr. Game & Fish is proud of Ben Avery and so am I.
(I frequent the place very often)
But I'm not the one talking about the inevitable closure of it...AZ G&F HAS talked about it!

The Director was caught with his pants down in a meeting *denying* ever talking about it...until someone showed him the minutes of the meeting in question.
With bureaucrats like these, who needs enemies?

I think that at the very LEAST, AZ G&F could tell the truth about what is going on, and please, leave the defeatist attitude at the door.
FIGHT FOR THE DAMN RANGE!!!

If AZ G&F could spend some of the effort and money blown on razorback suckers and bonytail chubs, (think glorified carp), to actually BUILDING a range in northern Arizona, maybe we wouldn't think of them as full of sh^t.
As it sits now, the land costs have shot through the roof and AZ G&F has shot themselves in the foot.

kmitch200

Anonymous said...

what the hell is wrong with you guys!
Slob gun owners to much trash.

This is nothing more than an excuse. The goal is to disarm the american people by destroying our 2A culture. Fewer and fewer places to shoot mean fewer and fewer gun owners because most people will just loose interest in gun ownership.

If you want an example of the war on guns go to www.jpfo.org and listen to the latest "Talking to America" with Aaron Zelman and Len Savage

Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the Constitution that gives FedGov any authority over "Fish & Game" or have "Federal Lands."

"F&G Guy" is a domestic enemy.

Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson: The Tree of Liberty is THIRSTY.

Anonymous said...

Wake up Anonymous bonehead, F&Gs are state agencies with legal mandate to manage wildlife within state boundaries.

Jeez, the noise of black helicopters here is almost deafening...

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