Udall wants support, more money for shooting ranges

By: BOB STEPHENS
April 9, 2012
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Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Mark Udall told a Colorado Springs crowd Monday that he wants more support for his bipartisan Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act.

The Democrat wants more federal money to be used for better and safer public shooting ranges, and hopes to amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, which now dedicates the excise tax collected on sales of sporting equipment to hunting, fishing and archery.

“I want to reallocate and redirect where some of that money is allowed to go,” Udall said.
Udall introduced his bill on June 22 and it awaits actions before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He figures to have “at least a 50-50” chance to get a hearing with the committee within a few weeks and is twisting arms to get the measure to the Senate floor.

“This should not be controversial,” Udall said. “I don’t want to jinx myself but if it gets out of committee with lots of ayes, I’m pretty confident.”

Udall failed is his push for a similar proposal in 2008.

“These things take time to ripen, to build public support,” Udall said. “The need, if anything, has increased.”

Udall is upping the pressure with an online petition at www.markudall.senate.gov, under blog entries. He urged the town hall crowd of 75 to sign it, before he addressed their concerns on a dozen subjects.

El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark and Fountain City Council member Sharon Brown joined Udall at a shooting range near Fort Carson after the town hall.

Clark, a Republican, spoke in favor of Udall’s bill, which could funnel more cash to the Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Range Complex at Fort Carson. The range is a joint venture between Fort Carson and the county that Clark hopes will open this spring.

It replaces a shooting range on Forest Service land that was closed after a series of woes including an accidental death.

“With Rampart Range closed, this bill could be an important recreational opportunity for our community,” Clark said. “It will give more dollars to ranges and could be a great step forward.”

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