DNR Board Delays Action On Gun Range Plan

Shooting Range Officials Applaud Move

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A leader of a shooting range said he’s glad the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has delayed action on proposed new rules for state-owned ranges.

The nonprofit that manages Boulder Junction Shooting Range is one of many groups that are objecting to a state plan to ban liquor, automatic weapons and exploding targets at DNR ranges. The DNR Board was going to discuss the plans at its meeting next week, but the item has been postponed until a later meeting. Boulder Junction official Pete Drahn said he’s pleased. He contends the rules are unnecessary.

“All ranges they’re talking about already have rules,” Drahn said. “Almost everybody in the United States complies with the NRA (National Rifle Association) rules. These rules are posted. So why does the DNR think they need to create these new rules?”

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DNR spokesman George Althoff said the agency heard complaints that the rules would have affected open or concealed carry of guns. Althoff said that’s not the case, but the rule package needs more public input and analysis.

Althoff said the gun lobby did not have undue influence over the department in the rule delay.

He said the DNR heard from a variety of sources.

“We received comments from many different interest groups and there’s no one group or interest that weighed more heavily on our decision than others,” said Althoff. “I mean, we’re just trying to be responsive and to be good listeners.”

Althoff said the decision to delay the item came from within the DNR, not Gov. Scott Walker’s office.