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NRA Applauds New Law Protecting<BR>Arizona’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility

Thursday, April 22, 2004

FAIRFAX, VA -- After unanimous support in the Arizona Legislature, HB 2158 "the Ben Avery Shooting Facility (BASF) Preservation Billö was signed into law by Governor Janet Napolitano. This law is essential to protect the BASF, the largest public operated shooting facility in the nation, from possible closure. HB 2158 establishes a ½ mile development buffer around the BASF, creating important zoning protection. It also requires written reports, public hearings, a presentation to the legislature, and unanimous Commission consent before Arizona Game and Fish can close the facility.

"The Ben Avery Shooting Facility has a long tradition hosting a variety of military, law enforcement, competitive and training organizations, including NRA’s own instructional clinics, and recently received the renowned ‘Phoenix Points of Pride’ award," said Arizona resident and NRA First Vice President Sandra Froman. "Thanks to the unanimous support of the Legislature, we are pleased that the BASF will continue to play an important role in the community."

"It was vital that Arizona adopt legislation to change the zoning and place significant standards on the Game and Fish Commission before they can close this premiere shooting facility," said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. "On behalf of the numerous Arizona gun owners, I want to thank the Legislature and Governor Napolitano for acting to save the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. I also want to recognize the efforts of NRA First Vice President Sandy Froman, NRA board member Todd Rathner, Rep. John Nelson (R-12), Phoenix City Councilman Dave Siebert, and the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association."

Population shifts from urban to suburban or rural areas have moved new groups of citizens in closer proximity to existing ranges. In recent years, this has resulted in hundreds of lawsuits and complaints filed by newcomers or the passage of local ordinances aimed at closing ranges because of noise, times of operation and facility expansion to accommodate growing interest in shooting.

As a result, 45 states, including Arizona, have passed range protection laws to safeguard shooting ranges and facilities from groundless complaints and forced closure. However, the BASF needed additional legislative assistance to prevent the Arizona Game and Fish Commission from allowing areas surrounding the facility to be taken over for development forcing them out of existence.

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The 133-year-old National Rifle Association is the nation’s oldest civil rights group, and advocates enforcement of existing laws to prosecute and punish violent criminals. The NRA is the leader in teaching gun safety and promoting marksmanship. The Association has approximately four million members across America.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.