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Thread: Montana Shooting Sports Association

  1. #1
    Senior Member  
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    Montana Shooting Sports Association

    Dear MSSA Friends,

    I thought you might be interested in this 24-hour MSSA story.

    Yesterday I received a phone call from Charles Kissling of Dillon who is semi-retired and a small miner with a gold claim in a remote location on BLM land in the Dillon area. BLM has issued a conditional use permit (they call it a "notice") to Charles that included a restriction that he could not possess any firearms while working his mining claim.

    Of course I was offended. I asked Charles to have his four pages of BLM documents scanned and email them to me. He did.

    I called the BLM office in Dillon to confirm that they had actually issued these documents, which they admitted. The person I spoke to claimed the prohibition was done for "public safety." I very carefully and politely explained the concept of constitutional rights and the Second Amendment - for about 45 minutes. At the end of this conversation the BLM employee said he'd recommend to his supervisor that the no-guns restriction be withdrawn.

    That was good, but not enough to satisfy me. At the recent White House Policy Conference I attended, one of the people I met is an Undersecretary for the Department of the Interior, Lyle Laverty. Lyle and I have exchanged emails a few times since the conference, including his request for my take on the guns in National Parks issue.

    Yesterday afternoon I sent Lyle an email describing the Dillon BLM situation and suggesting that BLM adopt a policy position to be circulated to all BLM employees stipulating that no BLM land use permits may include a firearm prohibition. Just FYI, I'll paste a copy of the text of that email below. Lyle responded and said he'd look into the issue. I received another email from Lyle this morning saying he's meeting with the Director of the BLM this afternoon and will go over the matter with him then.

    Meanwhile, I received a call this morning from a very nice lady in the BLM Dillon office introducing herself as the Acting Manager of the office. She announced that the Dillon BLM office would be removing the no-guns restriction from the Kissling mining claim operation permit.

    So, all's well that ends well. Kissling's problem is fixed, and we may even get a BLM directive to employees notifying them that any gun ban restrictions on use of BLM property are unacceptable.

    Hope you liked this story.

    Gary Marbut, president
    Montana Shooting Sports Association
    http://www.mtssa.org
    author, Gun Laws of Montana
    http://www.mtpublish.com
    =========================
    Email to Lyle Laverty, 10/06/08

    Lyle,

    Greetings from Montana. I hope your work is treating you well.

    I need some assistance that you may be able to provide or invoke by referral.

    Attached as a .pdf file is a BLM letter to Charles Kissling concerning conditions for operating a mining claim on BLM land near Dillon, Montana. One of the conditions listed in an attachment to the letter is that "No firearms will be allowed on [the mining] site during this time [times of working the claim]."

    You won't be surprised to learn that I found this asserted restriction to be objectionable. People carry firearms to hunt on BLM land. People possess firearms to shoot recreationally on BLM land. People possess firearms for self defense on BLM land. The Montana Constitution secures the right of people to bear arms for self defense and other reasons, as does the U.S. Constitution according to the recent D.C. v. Heller decision. Further, when Kissling works this claim, he camps on-site in a camper, which is his domicile. There are bears, mountain lions and wolves in this area, any of which could be a threat. And, Montana has a long and well-documented history of two-legged predators preying upon mining claim operators.

    So, for many reasons, this BLM restriction is highly inappropriate, is probably illegal, and could expose BLM to a civil rights deprivation lawsuit.

    I called the BLM official listed in the attached letter as contact person, Mr. Robert Gunderson. We had a cordial conversation. He admitted that the letter and attachment were true, and that the firearm prohibition was in fact among the conditions imposed on Mr Kissling for operation of a mining claim on BLM-managed public land.

    I explained to Mr. Gunderson the reason for my call and concerns. He said that the reason the prohibition had been put into the condition list was for "public safety," and because he thought he remembered something similar being imposed on other mining sites by OSHA. He said that since there could conceivably be people hiking or hunting in this admittedly remote location, the firearm prohibition was justified for "public safety."

    Following my further explanation about constitutional rights, Mr. Gunderson agreed to recommend to his supervisor, Mr. Tim Bozorth, that this condition be removed from the list applying to Mr. Kissling's operation of this mineral claim. He also said that Mr. Bozorth would have to approve the removal of this condition.

    Lyle, I think this imposed firearm prohibition is an egregious abuse of authority by BLM, even if well-intended. While we may have solved this problem locally, with my phone call and local administrative action, I sincerely believe that something should be put into whatever the BLM uses for a policy manual to preclude any such abuse from happening elsewhere within the BLM system.

    Thanks loads for whatever you can do to help make sure this problem is not repeated elsewhere within the BLM - that BLM personnel get the word that such restrictions are unacceptable.

    Best wishes,
    Gary Marbut, president
    Montana Shooting Sports Association
    http://www.mtssa.org
    author, Gun Laws of Montana
    http://www.mtpublish.com
    406-549-1252

    Bcc: Charles Kissling
    National Rifle Association counsel
    Senator Max Baucus
    Senator Jon Tester
    Closed Account

  2. #2
    Senior Member  
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    Just one more reason to get involved with your local/state/national Pro-RKBA group, whichever one it may be.
    Igonrance is temporary, but stupidity is forever.

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