Extremist package of hunting, gun policies should be permanently nixed

By on October 4, 2017 with 4 Comments

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., announced yesterday that the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act is not going to come up for consideration on the House floor anytime soon.

That’s a relief.

But let’s be clear: this disgraceful bill should never be revived or resuscitated. It’s an appalling package of reckless items on gun and wildlife policy that should offend every American, from ardent animal advocates to avid sportsmen.

As I wrote in a column published today on CNN.com, the SHARE Act has nothing to do with sportsmen’s heritage or enhancement of recreation. It is a wish list for the gun and ammunition industry and for the trophy hunting lobby. Let’s face it, they are already getting most of what they want out from Washington, D.C., so they had to be creative to pull together such a lengthy list of additional policy grabs. What they came up with is diabolical.

Here are a few items in the SHARE Act:

  • Eliminating some restrictions on private citizens obtaining silencers, which are a tool for poachers and other criminals.
  • Reducing some restrictions on the use of armor-piercing bullets.
  • Carving out a loophole in the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow 41 polar bear hunters to bring their kills into the United States to mount as “trophies.”
  • Allowing shooters into Grand Canyon National Park to shoot grazing bison– a practice with a degree of difficulty that matches shooting a parked car.
  • Expanding the definition of “hunting” for federal wilderness areas to include trapping, so steel jaw leghold traps and neck snares can be used on these protected lands.
  • Denying the Interior and Agriculture departments and the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to restrict the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle, despite the fact that science shows spent lead fragments and lost lead fishing gear poison people and kill thousands of animals, including endangered species.
  • Removing protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region, subverting unanimous court rulings declaring that the ongoing administrative actions to achieve delisting have been illegal.
  • Nullifying a federal rulemaking that restricts ruthless killing of wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, and wolves, on National Park Service lands in Alaska. Earlier this year, Congress nixed a separate rule that protected these animals on national wildlife refuges. Now they want to do away with the protection on national preserves.
  • Relaxing restrictions on baiting waterfowl, so that hunters can more readily hunt over baited fields.

The only “share” involved in the SHARE bill would be that of fat-cat elites seizing an even bigger share of privilege. Congressional architects of this legislation have hacked the identity of American sportsmen and sportswomen to push the narrowest of interests. And sportsmen and sportswomen might want to think twice about remaining silent and giving cover to the radical and scary ideas at stake here.

The lengthy bill is fat with other inexplicable giveaways, take backs, and lunacies that defy common sense. And it won’t be sportsmen alone who end up suffering from this. Cop-killer bullets on the streets, silencers that will mainly help criminals, a war on wolves, trapping as hunting, lead in our fields and food — it’s almost unfathomable in the aggregate.

If you’re grieving about the mass murder in Las Vegas, as tens of millions of Americans are, channel your energy and help permanently halt a series of policy ideas that would do nothing but contribute to the quotient of violence and recklessness in our society. The backers of this bundle of terrible ideas in the SHARE Act have confused the notions of freedom and license. As the smoke clears from Las Vegas, we should all see that distinction more sharply.

Categories
Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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4 Comments

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  1. Randy Bragge says:

    Would it be too much to include a link to support your claim that silencers are the tools of criminals? I’ve spent years gathering crime info related to silencers and have found very little crime associated with their use. Studies of crime associated with silencers show it is very rare.

    You seem to be making a big deal about how the bill will benefit industry. Why not talk about how easing restrictions on silencers will benefit the end users? A muffler on a gun is as much a benefit as on any other machine, especially for those who are not shooting. Silencers don’t make a gun silent; I know this because I’ve been designing and making registered silencers for years. Please contact me at ranb40@yahoo.com or (360)440-5889 to discuss this topic. Thank you.

    Randy Bragge
    Belfair, WA.

    • Scott Slocum says:

      Silencers (or suppressors) are highly regulated, with the goal of reducing their use in violent crime. If your research shows that their use in violent crime is low, that can be attributed to the fact that they’re highly regulated.

      The proposal in the “Hearing-Protection Act,” included in the SHARE Act, is to weaken those regulations. This could be expected to lead to an increase of their use in violent crime.

      The goal of silencers is to reduce the sound made firearms when they’re discharged. The remaining amount of sound depends on the type of firearm and the power of the ammunition, but the reduction does make the sound less noticeable and harder to trace to its source. Thus the concern of law-enforcement agencies.

    • shahla bozorgzadeh says:

      I totally agree with you Randy. silencers… declawing… pronged collars… electrical collars …. those stupid muzzles …. and … and…. and ….
      this alien human species is cruel… the good human is just another animal.

  2. Matt says:

    I read your article on CNN. You decry the changes to definitions and restrictions on armor piercing ammunition but at the same time oppose the use of lead hunting ammunition. As things currently stand, you can’t have both. The legal definition of ‘armor piercing’ ammunition is outdated and flawed. It defines almost all attempts to create non-toxic bullets as armor-piercing. Hunters don’t use lead ammunition because they want to poison all the animals they don’t shoot but because it is really their only viable option. Further, the two main classes of body armor are 3A and 4. 3A is the highest grade of soft body armor which is why it is what police usually use. 3A will stop most handgun rounds but will be pierced by virtually all types of bullets fired from almost any rifle – regardless of whether they are ‘armor-piercing’ or not. 4 is the highest grade of plate armor and will stop virtually any round irrespective of its ‘armor piercing’ design. Level 4 armor is generally only worn by soldiers and SWAT teams due to size and comfort reasons.
    As for silencers, you clearly oppose their widespread use. Proponents of gun restriction often point to European countries as a model of how to regulate firearms but in most European countries, silencers are cheap and freely available. Indeed, it is almost considered rude to not use a silencer as not doing so creates more noise pollution than absolutely necessary. Silencers are also incredibly easy to manufacture illegally. You can build one with $20 and a trip to the hardware store. The reason suppressors are rarely used in crimes is the same reason rifles are almost never used for crimes: they hinder concealment; which is often the primary factor in crime weapon selection. Adding a suppressor to a handgun makes it virtually unconcealable. In fact, the BATFE put out a memo just this year that pointed out that silencers are rarely used in crimes and recommended deregulating them. You act as if the noise reduction provided by silencers is unacceptable. If the noise created by firearms is necessary to save lives, why has no one suggested mandating devices that would increase the noise of firing? It is because that would be ridiculous. A high-end silencer will remove about 20 decibels from the muzzle blast. That takes it from roughly 155 decibels to a mere 135. You’ll notice that 135 decibels is still so loud that hearing is quickly and permanently damaged at that level.
    On a personal note, I’m in my twenties and always use hearing protection unless I am hunting. Even so, the three or four times I have done so has been sufficient to give me a significant case of tinnitus. If you had experienced the high pitched ringing that never stops, you would also be keen to be able to use silencers. As it is, the costs and regulations currently associated with silencer ownership are simply too onerous for me to own one.

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