Thursday, June 02, 2005

My Range Closed Today...

...the antigun activists from the U.S. Forest Service posted the range I shoot at in Booulder County this week.

The area has been a shooting range for more than a decade, with no complaints. The range area was closed, as usual, with no input from the shooting community, with none of the studies that the USFS so loves in virtually any other situation, essentially on the authority of one antigun ranger.

Sigh...another battle in the unending war. God, I hate these scumbags!

Tomorrow we'll be talking to the Colorado State Shooting Association, Senator Wayne Allard's office, the Congressional Sportsmens Foundation, the various and sundry heads of the U.S. Forest Service, the NRA, the National Association of Shooting Ranges, as well as figuring out what our legal recourse is.

I'll post full info as I get it, and I ask the Colorado blogging community to make sure it gets widespread treatment.


Anonymous said...


I'll be happy to run an article in The Blue Press to publicize the situation if you'll write it.

Michael Bane said...

I'll do it, Mark, because I think this is a "new front" in the gun control wars — especially in the West, where so much recreational shooting takes place on public lands.

Here in Colorado, as urban dwellers "suburbanize" rural/ranch lands, the gun issue keeps popping up. For example, my neighbors moved here from San Fran. The first week in the new house they called my girlfriend panic-stricken — they heard SHOOTING! My girlfriend assured them that it was only me shooting Bill Drills up in the forestland. No big.

It's a lot easier to sell newbie urban folks on "safety issues" than locals who have been shooting and hunting all their lives.

The West is changing, and the shoooting community hasn't really kept up. For example, the situation here in Boulder County is critical...the local politicians are virulently antigun; the other outdoor-use lobbies, especialy mountain bikes, are well-organized and headed by people with strong antigun leanings (they're friends of mine...we've had this discussion); the local shooting club, Boulder Rifle, is an absolutely closed, membership-capped private range with a 20+ year waiting list to get in and a long history of treating non-member shooters with arrogance and outright distain (for example, we're all welcome to pay the entry fees and shoot the various matches, but forget it if you want to practice!).

The closest public ranges are an hour or more away in Denver, and those ranges have draconian rules about "rapid-fire," "drawing from a holster," "shooting on unauthorized targets," etc. In other words, if you want to practice any technique newer than say 1940, you're out of luck.

That means more and more recreational shooters are pushed into smaller and smaller chunks of forest service land, whicih means more and more interaction with other users. I knew my range was in trouble when mountain bikers began arriving from Denver to ride the "secret" trails in Boulder County. Actually, the trails near the range suck; as a biker and resident myself, I KNOW where the secret trails up here actually are. I've offered numerous times to show Denver/Boulder bikers who drove up to the range area where those trailheads were, but they wanted nothing to do with me because I had a gun on my hip — what could I possibly know about biking?

The result is a nasty brew-haha which I suspect we shooters are going to lose.

BTW, my friends and I offered the Forest Service our services to clearly cut the berms and clean the area up (it's a staging area for fire fighters and heavy equipment during fire season, so it's not pristine's a garssy parking lot), plus make signage. We were referred by the same ranger who closed the range.

Michael B

Michael Bane said...

whoops...."refused" by the same ranger who later closed the range...


Anonymous said...

I'm well aquainted with the Peoples Republic of Boulder! Perhaps better known as 22 square miles surrounded by reality.

The Clear Creek club is your best bet, nice people with a well thought out range and an active schdule of IPSC and IDPA matches.
Not too far from Boulder and right off of I-70. Does get a bit "chilly" in the winter though.

My first choice (having lived in Denver) is the Aurora Gun Club. There is a match of some sort going just about every weekend, and members get the gate combination so you can practice whenever you want. I realize that it's a long drive but you'll never find a nicer bunch of people or a better facility.

As for the BLM land, GIVE 'UM HELL!
The tree huggers may think that all of the public lands are for their exclusive use but we're part of the "public" too.

Good Luck! Carl

Anonymous said...

Michael, I'll blog it at my place, and at Publicola's too.

Just one question though. Is there a common name for this shooting area? Surely the Forest Service has a designation for it.

Dangit, I wish I'd checked your blog a couple days ago. We could have had a gunblogger meetup at the Tanner show this weekend. Oh well.

But, speaking of that sort of thing, the next Tanner show is August 6-7th. Or, for folks who don't mind a drive, an ETS show in Pueblo is July 9-10.

I'd like to get together with other Colorado gunbloggers. A gun show seems a good time to do that. I have a list posted. Anyone with me?