"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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HR 45 Firearms Bill Proposed To Congress
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

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 45.”

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. 

HOME FRONT -- 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. 

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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