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Hunter spearheads amendment to reopen Miramar

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Jun 26, 2009.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Hunter spearheads amendment to reopen MCAS shotgun range

    By Ed Zieralski - 2:00 a.m. June 26, 2009

    The lead issue shut down the public shotgun range at Miramar's Marine Corps Air Station, but good old politics might soon reopen it.

    As reported here a few weeks ago, the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar could be reopening soon.

    Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Lakeside, is “offering an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Act that attempts to restart recreational shooting activities at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar,” according to a release from the congressman's office. “The gun range at MCAS Miramar, previously operated by the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association, was closed last year when lead shot was discovered beyond range boundaries.”

    According to the release, “the Hunter amendment specifically encourages the Marine Corps to expedite its Preliminary Assessment and Site Investigation and also submit a report to Congress that includes a plan and timeline to reopen the range.”

    “For more than 50 years, San Diego families have enjoyed recreational shooting and received quality firearm instruction at the Miramar Gun Range,” Hunter said in the release. “Indefinitely closing the range would deny these families and our Marines one of the few locations available for trap and skeet shooting, as well as recreational marksmanship. I look forward to working with the Marine Corps to ensure the continuation of a shooting range at Miramar that accommodates anyone interested in these activities.”

    The Miramar Gun Range also provided free recreational shooting to Marines and their families when it was open, and Olympic hopefuls such as Susan Sledge of El Cajon and Brian Burrows of Fallbrook practiced at the only gun range in San Diego with international trap. It was a favorite shooting range for local, state and federal law enforcement personnel, too.

    According to Hunter's office, the House Armed Services Committee is currently considering the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Act, legislation that authorizes programs and funding for the Department of Defense for the upcoming fiscal year. If approved by the House, the legislation then must be approved by the Senate.

    While on the subject of lead, lead bullets have been banned in a large area of Central and Southern California to protect the recovery program for the California condor. But now the state Fish and Game Commission is considering a total ban on all lead ammunition in the condor zone. The ban would cover .22 rifle ammunition used for small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels and all shotgun ammunition for upland birds such as quail and wild turkeys and all migratory birds like doves.

    The commission is facing three options:

    A court-issued settlement agreement that will ban the use of lead for resident small game such as squirrels, rabbits and hares.

    A ban on lead for all game mammals and birds, including resident and migratory birds.

    No action, and lead will continue to be allowed in the condor range for small game mammals and birds, including resident and migratory birds, except, of course, condors. This is what the Department of Fish and Game has recommended. No action. Let the hunters use lead for small game and resident and migratory birds.

    The commission didn't vote on the issue, but Monterrey-based Commissioner Michael Sutton indicated which direction he was heading when he boasted to the audience that he uses only non-toxic ammunition when he hunts birds. In this case, non-toxic would mean non-lead.

    Despite the Department of Fish and Game recommending no changes in the methods of take for small game and migratory birds in the condor range, Sutton appears very likely to vote for a ban on all lead ammunition in the range.
    Members of the public testified on the subject, and there were arguments on both sides.

    A recent DFG report on lead levels in condors in the condor range was accepted by the commission. But many members of the audience at yesterday's commission meeting blasted the commission for accepting the report. The DFG report was based on data collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in some instances, the federal data collectors refused to sign their names to the reports.

    The DFG has never connected lead bullets to the death of a single condor, and it's latest report fails to do that, too.

    Still, unless Sutton is overruled or outvoted by Commissioners Dan Richards, Jim Kellogg, Richard Rogers and Cindy Gustafson, the lead ban in condor range may extend to .22s and shotguns. Sutton only needs two more votes.
    Mysteriously, Richards, Rogers and Kellogg had no comment on the issue after Sutton once again dominated the discussion. Gustafson was absent for both days of the meeting.

    How two hunters, two sportsmen such as Richards and Kellogg could sit there and not say a word is a complete mystery.
    The Commission is expected to decide on the lead ban in condor range at its Aug. 6 meeting.

    It costs California $100,000 a year to service the state's many aquaculture farmers that use approximately 2,000 acres of the state's ocean floor to grow shellfish. But like most things in this state, the aquaculture operation is being run at a deficit that is cutting into the state's economy.

    A DFG report given to the commissioners showed that while it costs the state $100,000 a year to oversee the leases on the 2,000 acres, the state only receives $34,000 in revenue.

    The commission plans to revise leases when they are up, but the leases are 25-year agreements and many don't expire for another 18 years.

    Sutton led the discussion with his comment that by 2015 seafood in the marketplace produced by aquaculture is expected to exceed the amount produced by fishing.

    He said the U.S. has been slow to get on the aquaculture bandwagon, but that the federal government now is getting more involved in looking at ocean waters for fish farming.

    Sutton also pointed out that just as farmers replaced hunters during the “green revolution,” fish farming will replace fishing.

    Sutton's right about that, especially if the environmental groups he serves get their way on ocean fishing closures through their environmentally funded Marine Life Protection Act.
  2. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Land of fruits and nuts for sure.

    If the lead was an issue did none of the geniuses know it was avaluable resource to reclaim? (scratch head)

    Just gotta wonder sometimes.

  3. Bucko43

    Bucko43 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2008
    Lakeside, California
    Thanks for posting this article Joe.

    I am one of those regular shooting members of the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association, and we have definitely been waiting way too long for the Marines to decide which cheek to scratch next. I think an ammendment is the way to go, and we thank Duncan Hunter for his efforts to help us re-open our range.

    We hope it is sooner than later!

    Kevin King
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