Comment | PJ Tatler
2011-11-17 10:53:24

I’ve lived in the Intermountain West for 30 years. I’ve hiked and backpacked in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Montana. This article invites several comments. First, I didn’t see anything here that would lead to a “liberal” vs. “conservative” discussion. One’s political leanings would appear to have nothing to do with this issue.

The link tries to compare users of guns and ATVs. I can dodge an ATV if I hear it coming; I can’t necessarily dodge a bullet fired from 1/4 mile or more away. The author implies the entire BLM is concerned about “urbanites freaking out;” when the reality is that the quote comes from one individual. I know a fair number of BLM staffers who would disagree with their colleague.

I’m also aware of a number of places just in Colorado where illegal shooting occurs on Forest Service & BLM lands. Gun owners bring in old appliances, junk vehicles, old TVs, etc.; fill them full of holes; and then leave the mess. I’d hope the individuals and entities who are opposing the proposed new rules are aware of this and have some sort of stewardship programs in place to “police the bad apples.”

The general concern is correct, however, as the West has become more urbanized. I would not see shooting as a good activity close to places like Flagstaff, Grand Junction, Moab, etc. That said, there are still plenty of places out here where shooting can be done with a modicum of safety and protecting the public. Given my knowledge of the rulemaking process for the federal land agencies, I suspect the needed safety concerns will be addressed while still preserving the concept /of multiple use of public lands.

In other words, this issue is a real “tempest in a teapot.”