The last segment of our four-part series concludes by unveiling pro-gun bills in the Senate. These bills range from restrictions limiting federal government gun regulation, to full-scale permission to carry at water resource parks.
S. 1588: Outdoor Sports Protection Act
Sponsor: Sen. James Henry “Jim” Webb, Jr. (D.-Va.), co-sponsored by 11 others
Status: Referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works on Sept. 21.
According to this brand new bill, “Congress finds that the Second Amendment of the Constitution provides that `the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Yet, according to the bill, the current Code of Federal Regulations prohibits possession of loaded firearms, ammunition, or even crossbows near water resource development areas, including recreational areas such as beaches and streams.
This bill completely reverses that code and allows any individual to carry a firearm near a water resource area provided other laws do not prohibit that person from possessing a firearm, and provided possession complies with local state law.
S. 1249: Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act
Sponsor: Sen. Mark E. Udall (D.-Colo.), co-sponsored by four others including Sen. Jon Tester (D.-Mont.)
Status: Referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works on June 22.
This bill would allow up to ten percent of a state’s share of Firearm and Bow Hunter Education and Safety Program Grants to go to construction of public target ranges for rifle, pistol, shotgun, or archery shooting.
In general, the Federal government share of any activity carried out using a FBHESP grant could not exceed 75 percent of the total program cost, but the federal government could pay up to 90 percent of the cost of acquiring land for expanding or constructing a target range.
According to this bill, using state and federal funds to pay for firing ranges would ensure safe and convenient locations for those activities.
S. 570: To Prohibit the Department of Justice From Tracking and Cataloguing the Purchases of Multiple Rifles and Shotguns
Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D.-Mont.), co-sponsored by 32 others
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary March 14.
This bill, only one sentence long, prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funding to require a licensed gun shop to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same person. This would overrule any attempts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to the contrary.
Prominent co-sponsors include Sen. Randal Howard “Rand” Paul (R.-Ky.), Sen. Orrin G. Hatsch (R.-Utah), and Sen. Roy D. Blunt (R.-Mo.).
S. 526: Mohave Valley Land Conveyance Act
Sponsor: Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.), co-sponsored by Sen. Jon L. Kyl (R.-Ariz.)
Status: Referred to the Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on May 18. Hearings held: S. Hrg. 112-39
This bill transfers land from the federal government into the ownership of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The land given to the Commission would then become a multipurpose shooting range for education, recreation, competitions, and local law enforcement target practice.
As soon as Mohave County ceases to use the land as a firing range, it would revert back to the federal government.
The Department of the Interior strongly supported this bill, said Michael Pool, Deputy Director of Operations for the Bureau of Land Management, but expressed concern about Native American interests on that same land.
“The BLM also recommends technical and policy improvements to the bill,” he said.
These bills all still have a ways to go before they become law, but gun-owners can hope and gun-control activists can fight.
All of these bills must pass committee before they can make it to the Senate floor, where senators will vote as to whether or not these bills can become law.
If the committees do not pass the bills within a certain amount of time, they will simply die in committee.
The Arizona shooting range bill must pass both subcommittee and committee before making it to the floor.