- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The group that runs a shooting range in northern Wisconsin on Monday blasted proposed new rules for the facility and other state-owned ranges as unnecessary, saying the authors apparently never fired a gun and came up with the plan after watching action movies.

The Department of Natural Resources has proposed sweeping rules for the nine ranges it owns around the state. The plan includes banning liquor, exploding targets, tracers and automatic weapons. The agency’s board is slated to vote on the package April 13.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range, a nonprofit organization, runs the DNR range in that northern Wisconsin town. The group submitted comments to the board Monday saying the group already imposes rules suggested by the National Rifle Association. The new rules amount to a unilateral, one-size-fits all approach that solves only people’s perceptions of firearm dangers rather than real problems, the group said.

“The authors … appear to be under the impression that all shooting ranges are the same,” the group wrote. “It also appears that some of the authors or proponents have never fired a gun or gone to a range in their lives. Perhaps they are relying on reruns of ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Dirty Harry.’”

A DNR spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email Monday afternoon seeking comment on the group’s concerns. Agency officials have said, however, that they want to impose uniform rules on all the ranges because none currently exist. Gun advocacy groups have given the rules a lukewarm reception at best, noting the package generally reflects rules at private shooting clubs but taking issue with the alcohol ban.

The BJSR said Monday that it already prohibits alcohol consumption on the range until after shooting is over, as per NRA guidelines. Banning it from the range completely would drive members away and reduce revenues, the group warned.

The ban on exploding targets will be unenforceable, the group said. The targets can’t start fires, don’t leave debris and can add excitement to rifle matches, the comments said.

The group also argued that the rules allow police to fire tracer rounds so civilians should be able to use them, too. If someone has a license for an automatic weapon, he or she should be allowed to shoot it, the group said.

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Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1


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