Fairfax, VA - The U. S. Forest Service recently took steps to clarify a federal regulation that defines where safe recreational shooting can take place within the National Forest System (NFS).
Federal regulation 36 CFR 261.10 prohibits shooting within 150 yards of “occupied areas” such as residences, buildings, campsites and specifically developed recreation areas. It was misused to include roads in the definition of occupied areas, which led to the closure of certain NFS lands to recreational shooting. NRA sought clarification of the regulation to ensure that is was not misused in the future.
“We are very pleased that the Forest Service responded to the concerns we raised by issuing guidance to its field personnel,” said Chris W. Cox, National Rifle Association’s (NRA) chief lobbyist. “This directive is certainly a welcomed step when addressing inappropriate and discriminatory closures of public lands to recreational shooting.”
The NFS lands at issue with the federal regulation were closed without advance public notification and opportunity to comment. The directive emphasizes that shooting sports are legitimate uses of NFS lands and as such, public involvement is required where permanent land closures to recreational shooting are being contemplated.
Importantly, the directive highlights a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the NRA signed last year with the Forest Service and 40 other national organizations. The MOU is designed to solve problems and identify opportunities for recreational shooters.
NRA provides technical expertise to the Forest Service on matters related to recreational shooting and we look forward to strengthening that partnership in order to safeguard the future of the shooting sports on public lands.
“On behalf of all NRA members, I’d like to thank Col. Robert Brown and others for their tireless efforts in encouraging and safeguarding the future of our shooting heritage on public lands,” concluded Cox. “Recreational shooters have always proven themselves to be safe and responsible users of Federal lands and will now continue shooting on these lands across the country for generations to come.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.