Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sportsmen take aim at law enforcement bill

But he appears to be willing to listen to one interest group: sportsmen. On Feb. 2, Chaffetz credited pressure from hook-and-bullet groups for his decision to kill the public lands transfer bill he recently introduced, HR 621. And those groups hope he’ll listen again when it comes to companion bill HR 622, the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act. Sponsored by Chaffetz and cosponsored by several representatives from across the West, this bill presents a less direct threat: it would hand a difficult job — enforcing federal regulations on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service — to local police. Sportsmen fear that this would undermine federal agencies’ ability to manage those 438 million acres, making the lands more vulnerable not only to abuse but to potential transfer as well. “It’s one more stake in the heart of public access to public lands,” says Whit Fosburgh, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership president and CEO. For sportsmen, this is only the latest in a long history of conservation fights. “Sometimes people think hunters are new to this table,” says Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, “but we’ve been doing this for the last 120 years.” The intensity of recent threats to public lands, however, has led to greater awareness than ever, spurring widespread involvement from the sportsmen community. BHA’s membership, for example, has increased by 25 percent since the election, and has tripled over the last year. “A lot more folks are emboldened to speak up now,” says Fosburgh. BHA recently coordinated a press conference on HR 622, giving both sportsmen and career law enforcement employees from the BLM and Forest Service a platform to voice their opposition. This came about because the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, seeing potential allies in the sportsmen community, reached out to BHA. Together, they decided to take action “while this thing is hot,” says Tawney...more

This is amazing to me. Their position is local law enforcement is competent to investigate murder and rape, but not recreation or wildlife infractions? They are capable to police neighborhoods and areas where you and I live and work but not the areas where these guys hunt? The position they are taking is really anti-law enforcement, as it is a real slap in the face to the 765,000 state and local officers in the U.S.

1 comment:

Danne said...

It's not so amazing to me after watching FS LEOs hang tickets on unsuspecting and confused recreationalists camping on NF lands after the Clinton mandated Travel Management Plans took hold. LEOs were, and continue to, aggressively ticket people for minor infractions of these divergent regs. (that differ from forest to forest), expecting forest visitors to read and comply to incomprehensible maps issued by the forests. We simply don't need LEOs who have nothing better to do than find and harass easy "marks". This is but one example. I'm in favor of eliminating FS and BLM LEO programs.