By Larry Pratt
If anti-gun zealots in government are frustrated that they have not yet been able to completely infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has found a politically correct issue to use against gun owners.
In Azusa, California, there is a shooting range in the city’s mountain suburb. The Burro Canyon Shooting Park opened with a bang in November, 1993 on a 76 acre allotment near the Angeles National Forest.
Since the Shooting Park is on land unconstitutionally owned and administered by the United States government, Burro Canyon operates with a permit from the USFS, itself an unconstitutional agency desperately in need of elimination.
About a year ago, the USFS discovered that the railroad ties in use at the range had to be removed because the creosote in them was disturbing the pristine environment of Burro Canyon. This creosote is apparently different from that in the telephone poles all over other federally protected land.
Well, the railroad ties went, but trouble was just starting. Through an alleged irregularity in the deeding of the 76 acres for the Shooting Park, in spite of the USFS’s earlier approval, the Rangers managed to whack the Shooting Park down to four acres.
Then the Shooting Park was told to be sure that all that horrible human activity that occurs there would not endanger any exotic plants. You see, the natural habitat must not be disturbed. By the way, the Burro Canyon Shooting Park sits on top of a landfill.
By October of 2000 the USFS discovered that shotgun shells are an environmental threat, and the Shooting Park was not picking them all up.
Next the USFS decided that there was too much picnicking going on, so the picnic tables had to go. Oops — haven’t you gotten rid of all those metal plates the cops used for their long range practice? “Why, you’re not in compliance. Those plates are polluting the pristine Canyon.”
Finally, after months of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts, the Burro Canyon shooting park closed on January 2, 2001.
The anti-gun nuts in the bureaucracy have managed to squelch constitutional freedom under the guise of protecting the environment.
Doesn’t this make you want to go hug a tree?
[Larry Pratt is Executive Director of Gun Owners of America located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151 and at http://www.gunowners.org on the web.]
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V4N10 (July 2001)|