Legislative H.10

Vermont Bearhound Association and Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association's Position on H.10 of the 2011-2012 Legislative SessionThe recent return of the Vermont Legislature has resulted in the introduction of H.10, a bill that requires serious opposition by the Vermont shooting and hunting community.H.10, named as "An Act Relating to the design and Inspection of Sport Shooting Ranges", would require the certification of Vermont's Sport Shooting Range every five years by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife (F&W).The bill has the following problems:The bill would employ the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Range Source Book as the standard by which all ranges would be measured. This NRA manual however specifically states that is not to be used as an inflexible standard for ranges, it is to only serve as general guidelines. Specifically, the NRA Range Source states "...this source book may not be utilized to establish design standards or criteria for ranges." (Paragraph 1.02.5 P1.3 NRA Range Source Book) The bill allows the Commissioner of F&W to incorporate additional criteria in the requirement standards for ranges. Ranges are physical facilities that require deliberate and seriously considered design and construction standards, despite the fact that the VSRPA supports safe ranges and ranges safety, such sites should not subject to the possible constantly changing whims of political appointees. While the Vermont F&W Website lists 31 ranges in Vermont, it is well known that there are quite literally hundreds and hundreds of private ranges on private land in Vermont. For well over a hundred years, these private ranges have operated safely without any oversight, as almost all shooting enthusiasts know the most basic practices of safe firearm handling such as insuring that you are aiming at your target and that the impact area for shots is more than just barely adequate. Irresponsible actions by thoughtless individuals cannot be stopped by legislation, and existing laws already exist to punish individuals when irresponsible acts tragically cause injuries or loss of life. The Vermont Department of F&W, like all state agencies, is facing more financial restraints on its ability to perform even its core functions - to task this agency with performing range certifications is an unrealistic demand that cannot be accomplished with existing F&W Department resources. The more viable and appropriate solution is for Vermont's ranges to voluntarily secure the services of a NRA Range Technical Team to review the range and make recommendations. The range operators will pay for the site review of their range. The longer term solution however is for the Vermont F&W Department to honor the commitment that has been made to establish public ranges in each county of Vermont, thereby allowing Vermonters an alternative to private ranges.In summary, the shooting community in Vermont is better served by private sector solution to the issue of monitoring ranges, rather than depending upon an already over-burdened state agency.
To Voice your opposition to this bill, call the Sergeant of Arms at (802) 322-5616.Ask to leave a message for Chair Deen and Speaker Smith: "NO to H.10".  

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