There are good outdoors folks out there who tell
me “in no uncertain terms” that “I was whistling at midnight as I walked
past the graveyard” in last week’s column. I reported all is well with
lawmakers of the country and gun folks.
Make no mistake about it, they say. If you want
to keep your guns and stay legal, you had better train your eyes and ears
on the lawmakers of the land, the states, and throw in enforcement agencies.
There is a bill in Congress now that would do
all sorts of things with the sale of guns and ammunition . . . so many
things, in fact, that it would take a small book to cover them.
I was first alerted to this threat to gun ownership
by e-mail today (March 2). Being a former police reporter, I tend to have
doubts about many things I hear. My informant said Google (the internet
provider) is running the details of this measure in Congress. It is HR
45. I presume the particulars are factual. It is designated “HR 45 Blair
Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sales Act of 2009.”
I will not list terms of the bill in this space
. . . especially now. But if the passage appears eminent this column will
run the bill verbatim. If you want to see the detailed Google report, go
to www.google.com and search “HR
Our informant says that the measure is so recent
that even gun shop owners in a big hunting/fishing western state didn’t
know about it last Sunday.
-- Closer to home, in the Indiana General Assembly, Rep. Bill Friend, the
longtime supporter for fenced in shooting, which went down the tube with
law violations and prison sentences, has a bill (H.B. 1585) that would,
if adopted, give the legislature authority over deer bag limits (in some
counties) and some other jargon.
The legislators decided years ago that most of
their ilk knew nothing of wild game management, and that they would be
pleased to bug out and leave it (wild game management) to wild game managers
. . . the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This became reality when
the discretionary order system was adopted, and I must say that the legislatorsn
have done fairly well in adhering to the system.
Now and then, however, the insurance lobby and
others gain a foothold and try to take wildlife management into their hands.
Even friends (no pun intended) get a wild hair in their eyebrows now and
again and try to usurp the DNR’s authority . . . which is the law of the
parcel of land we call Indiana.
It might be a good idea to get exercised with
pen/pencil and put the “woah” on this one with a note to your senator.
It passed the house, 79-13, on February 17, and awaits senate action.
Whether the legislators know it or not, hunters
in Indiana bagged more that 129,000 deer in last year’s seasons . . . an
increase in the total bag of more than four percent over the year before.
They might also realize that so long as there is one deer in the state,
and one motorized vehicle, they will collide.
Chris Smith, the DNR’s liaison with the legislature,
says the DNR would prefer to decide such issues.
It is somewhat akin to the program years ago in
which the DNR stocked elk in the southern hill country. They did well,
and someday (like right now) we might have had an elk season. Instead,
farmers came busting over the hills of back roads on Saturday midnight
to find 1,500 pounds of elk (raw pot roast) belly-flat in the gravel road--and
bad brakes. They also tore up a few fences.
It was a sad day for elk. They had to go.