White House – Target Shooting Is OK But Self-Defense Is Not

HR 3590 – the Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013passed the House of Representatives yesterday on a vote of 268 in favor with 154 opposed. The bill passed in a somewhat bipartisan manner with 41 Democrats and 227 Republican voting in favor of the bill.

The bill, if acted upon and passed by the Senate, does a number of things including setting aside Pittman-Robertson monies for range construction, removes the authority of the EPA to regulate lead for ammunition and fishing tackle, and allows electronic duck stamps. The bill would also prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from banning firearm possession on Corps recreational and water resource development projects. The US District Court for the District of Idaho issued a preliminary injunction preventing the US Army Corps of Engineers from doing just that in the case of Morris et al v. Army Corps of Engineers.

A summary of Title VI states:

Title VI: Access to Water Resources Development Projects Act – Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2013Prohibits
the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing any regulation
that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm at a water
resources development project administered by the Chief of Engineers if:
(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing
the firearm, and (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with
the law of the state in which the project is located.

On Monday, the White House issued a statement on the SHARE Act stating what they supported, what they opposed, and what they didn’t care about one way or another. The White House said it supported the use of Pittman-Robertson monies for range development (Title II), it supported allowing the importation of a handful of legally killed polar bear trophies from Canada which have been stuck in limbo (Title IV), and it supported the electronic sales of duck stamps (Title V).

The White House said that it didn’t oppose Title I which, in its words, “excludes certain sport fishing equipment from the classification of toxic substances.” They ignored mention of that part of the bill that would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to “exclude from the definition of “chemical substance” for purposes of such
Act: (1) any component of any pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or
cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including
shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers”.  I guess I should be thankful that they didn’t oppose it.

Among the things the White House opposed was Title VI. They said:

The Administration also opposes Title VI, which prohibits the Secretary of the Army from enforcing any regulations that would prohibit the possession of firearms at water resources development projects with limited exceptions.

In other words, they are opposed to the right of visitors to any Corps-administered lands to be able to be armed for the purposes of self-defense. A tent or camper has been found to be a temporary residence many times
by the courts and, as such, is the place which the Supreme Court found
in the Heller case that the need for self-defense is “most acute”.  Thus, while the Obama Administration is somewhat OK with gun owners and hunters doing target shooting at some backwoods, out-of-the-way location, they don’t believe you have the right to self-defense while in a tent or camper in a campground on Corps-administered lands.

Go figure.