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HB 1049: GF&P Seeks “Emergency” Funding for Rapid City Shooting Range

When I learned about the proposed $9.9-million, 400-acre, “world-class” shooting range the state wants to build northeast of Rapid City on Elk Vale Road, Game Fish & Parks Division of Wildlife Terrestrial Section Chief John Kanta told me that his Department had committed $2.5 million to the project, a figure that included federal Pittman-Robertson weapons tax revenue. Kanta said that while some additional funding might come from law enforcement agencies eager to use the shooting range for training, he expected most of the funding to come from private partners.

Game Fish & Parks is now formally asking the Legislature for half of the spending authority it needs to build the Rapid City shooting range. House Bill 1049 would give GF&P $2.5 million from the general fund and another $2.5 million in “other fund expenditure authority” for its bang-bang-o-plex. Section 2 of HB 1049 allows the GF&P Secretary Kevin Robling to accept whatever gifts, contributions, and other sources of money he can rustle up for the project. Secretary Robling told the Game Fish & Parks Commission that (Bob Mercer’s words), “about $2.5 million in contributions have already been pledged.”

HB 1049 also carries an emergency clause, declaring itself “necessary for the support of the state government and its public institutions” and thus promising this appropriation immediately upon passage instead of waiting for the new fiscal year on July 1. As usual, invoking the emergency clause seems odd: is a recreational shooting range really “necessary”? Will state government and its public institutions really falter without the support of of this facility, or if we have to wait five months for funding to flow to this armed playground?

With or without the emergency clause, this special appropriation will require a two-thirds vote from each chamber (SD Const. Art. 12 Sec. 2). So will House Bill 1048, in which GF&P is asking for $9.89 million to expand Custer State Park.


  1. jerry 2022-01-07 18:55

    Tapping the Covid billions?? That would be my guess. These crooked barstards will do anything but what would help those who need the money the most.

  2. Matthew k 2022-01-07 19:39

    Gfp spent a lot of money on this range already to find out they were going to build right in the middle of a section line trying to deny me access to my property not a smart move go pack sand gfp

  3. Porter Lansing 2022-01-07 19:42

    Seems like a good investment. Gun sales are through the roof and gun owners need to practice. What this facility doesn’t need is “LET’S GO BRANDON” images on targets. Keep it clean and have some fun.

  4. John 2022-01-07 21:24

    Good grief. Man does South Dakota and the GFP have bent priorities. The ammosexuals are trying to pass a fast one for their autocracy.

    Here’s thoughts for a few amendments to this “emergency”.
    1) the state shall NEVER offer special dispensations, scheduling, use, or contracts to any donor of funds, or to any party, in whole or in part, for this “public” facility. This public facility shall NEVER be used, in whole or in part, for non-public, and/ or fee-charged events, tournaments, competitions. Youth and hunter safety course may charge a nominal one-time fee for the use of up to 25 rounds of ammunition used only for educational purposes. [Let the free market and government agencies do their own thing on their own time and place.]
    2) the state is barred from making contributions and or improvements to firing, trap, skeet, or archery ranges or facilities within a 100-mile direct radius distance of the “Rapid City/Meade County” facility for a period of 20 years from the completion of construction acceptance date of the said facility.
    3) the state shall conduct, complete, and publish a final study for the public, at the sole expense of the GFP, a firearms and archery statewide needs and use independently scientifically peer-reviewed firearms and archery needs study completed no later than 5 years after the acceptance date of the aforementioned range. The state shall annually and then cumulatively retain 15% of state general funds allocated to the GFP as of the acceptance date of the aforementioned range for every year that the GFP range needs study is not peer reviewed and released to the public. In the event the peer reviewed study shows the state over-subscribed range use within 100-miles of the aforementioned facility, then the state shall within 9-months close and sell its support, title, grounds, and facilities in Spearfish Canyon for the exclusive use as a picnic ground and park.
    4) the state will ensure the operating hours of the aforementioned facility are no greater than the legal hunting shooting hours of one-half hour prior to sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The state will provide a state full time employee (FTE) retained on site safety monitoring and supervision of the aforementioned range during the hours of operation.
    5) the state shall NEVER transfer the land and/or use title, operation, authority, responsibility, or accountability to a private or non-profit entity, or to a county, city, or another government entity.
    6) in the event that local zoning encroaches within 1-mile of the aforementioned range, the range shall immediately cease operation, complete all environmental clean-up, and sell the premises via public auction within 9-months of the establishment of said zoning regardless of the costs to the state. The shall retain 15% of all state general funds allocated to the SDGFP the year prior for every month the state is tardy beyond 9-months for not complying with this prevision. This 15% retention is cumulative every year and is non-refundable / non-reimbursable to the GFP
    7) the state shall, every two years, shut down range operations to clear the aforementioned range of all residual lead. The state will ensure the clearing the range facility receives independent third party as is recognized by the US EPA, published certification at state expense of lead clearance prior to the aforementioned range resuming operation
    8) the state shall use unmodified range safety weapon safety zone templates as accepted by the US Army for the unmodified use on US Army ranges via US Army regulations, directives, policies, proceedures, and published practices. The state shall never seek nor accept modifications or waivers to US Army range safety fan templates.
    9) the state shall bar the non-government range users from the use, possession, or employment of tracer and /or exploding ammunition.
    10) the state shall bar non-government users of the aforementioned range of using night vision aid / assisted devices that conflict with current state and federal hunting laws, regulations, and rules.
    11) the state shall measure, at its expense, the noise it emits if the range expands the area designed and operated for the use of firearms or explosives by more than twenty per cent in size than at the time of its initial noise measurement or if the range introduces the use of a type of firearm or explosive device that will increase noise production. The range shall pay for the measurement and shall keep the results of the measurement at the range at all times. Any person may review the noise measurement during the range’s business hours. The noise emitted from an outdoor shooting range shall not exceed an Leq(h) of sixty-four DBA. The DBA sound pressure measurements shall be taken twenty feet from the nearest occupied residence, school, hotel, motel, hospital or church, or from the nearest proposed location of a residence, school, hotel, motel, hospital or church if the property is zoned for such a structure but is currently unimproved. Sound pressure measurements (DBA) shall be made in a location directly between the range and the nearest existing or proposed residence, school, hotel, motel, hospital or church. If there are natural or artificial obstructions that prevent an accurate noise measurement, the measurement shall be taken within an additional twenty feet radius from the initial measurement location. Sound pressure measurements shall be made on the A-weighted fast response mode scale. Measurements shall be taken during the noisiest hour of peak use during the operation of the range. Measurements shall be taken according to American national standards institute’s standard methods ANSI S1.2-1962 (R1976) American national standard method for physical measurement of sound and ANSI S1.2-1971 (R1976) American national standard method for measuring sound pressure levels. Measurements shall be taken using a type 1 sound meter meeting the requirements of ANSI S1.4L-1971. Any part of the measurements conducted on a range shall comply with the range safety rules. If the aforementioned range noise emissions do not comply with the standards of these measurements, the state shall immediately close all use of the aforementioned range and re-open the range after range modifications, at state expense, comply with these noise abatement standards.
    12) the state shall never charge the public for the use, occupancy, parking, or presence of or on the aforementioned range facility or its public toilet.

    Chew on this.

  5. Guy 2022-01-07 22:08

    Millions and millions of dollar$ for more affordable housing or a shooting range? Oh, I forgot…. our labor shortage is just due to “lazy people” who don’t “want to work” or whatever mantra is lazily screamed about in this state. But, we DESPERATELY need a huge shooting range to keep this state afloat with emergency dollars from Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer.

  6. jerry 2022-01-07 22:50

    Once again, follow the money. What contractors gets their hands greased for yet another NOem government boondoggle, this time a shooting range. There already exist several 12-15 million bucks for what?

    Guy is correct, we need more housing for the workers to live.

  7. Guy 2022-01-07 23:10

    Jerry, how many times have we heard state officials and business leaders complain that we have a “labor shortage crisis”? Is that not the “real emergency” in need of “emergency funding” to keep businesses afloat and grow our recent Q3 slowing GDP, as reported by Cory? But, funding a shooting range is instead the huge “emergency” our state government is focused on? So, many misplaced priorities from a state government that seems so disconnected from the reality that affects its own citizens. There seems to be absolutely no connection between those serving in Pierre and those of us living outside of that remote capital town in the middle of no where.

  8. All Mammals 2022-01-08 01:27

    Mercy. North Rapid is the shooting range. I’m researching the concept of investing a few grand per public SD high school on walk-through metal detectors. Spare the school faculty the anxiety and the state the cost of safety assessments and deescalation training binders.
    Courthouses, airports, AND high schools can all be gun free zones. In addition, the detectors come standard with thermometers to measure body temperature so weapons and fevers get denied at the door.
    I wonder if the school safety assessment covered in an article here a couple months ago gathers data on the prevalence and distance of discharged firearms in the school’s surrounding environment..such factors should be taken into consideration in order to measure risk and sell tailor-made contingency plan flow charts.

  9. paladn98 2022-01-08 09:00

    Just in time: we move from Arizona to South Dakota for “Shootout at the Elk Vale Corral”! Get your 5 year olds and survive Rapid pre—lims and head for the State Fair!

  10. jerry 2022-01-08 09:00

    All Mammals, in my recollection, there has been only one serious gun incident in the Rapid City school system. I believe that was in 1992 and it was a hostage situation at Stevens High School (West Rapid near the National Guard shooting range). There are presently police officers at the schools and in close proximity to them during hours.

    The temperature testing though, makes sense to me. That would be a hardship for the parents though as we here in the United States don’t have childcare, so the parent would have to leave work to attend the sick child.

  11. Loren 2022-01-08 09:01

    Roads in bad shape. Check Bridges need repair. Check We’re on meth. Check COVID? Check Brain drain. Check… BUT, we will have a world class shooting range!

  12. Marie 2022-01-08 10:51

    SD GAME, FISH, and PARKS—What is the public mission of this state department?
    Is this $10 million project providing parks, hiking or biking trails for South Dakotans to enjoy the outdoors? Nope.
    Is this $10 million project preserving natural habitat for recreational hunting–a declining sport? Nope.
    Is this $10 million project preserving watersheds for fishing? Nope.
    And what are the annual operating costs of this facility going forward?

    Who are the “private partners” funding Gov. Noem’s “family activities”–a publicly funded state of the art rodeo complex and now a gun range for military style weapons and handgun enthusiasts? I think the public has a right to know NOW.

    Horseback riding and hunting are well beyond the financial reach–or interest–of most South Dakota families with children.

    And what about alternative uses of PUBLIC SD taxpayer funds? What would $10 million and ongoing costs buy?
    Medicaid expansion? Eliminating the sales tax on food? Affordable housing construction?

    Funding the US/SD’s outlier gun culture is surely not an appropriate emergency or ongoing use of South Dakota tax0payer funds.

  13. marvin kammerer 2022-01-08 10:56

    the game, fish and parks says it won’t bond the shooting range which leaves the state holding the bag for clean up for lead etc.& what about accidents. how does the county (meade) keep from numerous costs that will surely arise. the game,fish and parks still hasn’t provided a go ahead from the natl.environmental people for the lead problem nor has the issue of closing a section line before moving a shovelful of dirt . the county has twice before stopped shooting ranges some years back because of problems maybe they should take a serious look at this proposal.the section line issue raised by matt kammerer has to be dealt with by the county & the game,fish & parks. this issue is a bad joke on nieghbors in this area.none of us were aware of this issue, the game,fish & parks bureaucrats scemed up this concept on their own & didn’t let the board of the game ,fish & parks know about it until it was presented to the meade county board of commissioners. are the bureaucrats running the state?

  14. grudznick 2022-01-08 12:27

    I am glad the good Senator Thune supports this. Mr. Thune shall reign benignly.

  15. Retired 2022-01-08 12:35

    Liability issues are my main concern. A 300 win mag has down range capabilities in excess of 4000 Yds. ( 2.27 miles) with a ever expanding cone of influence moving down range from discharge point. GFP should protect the states investment by providing a study to understand how many bullets are leaving the range and landing in this area, sampling periodically to prove its safety or not. A baseline sampling of the area needs to be accomplished before the range is opened. Numerous representative sample areas would need to be surveyed with metal dectors and data recorded. The study should be funded by the project and managed over the years by Meade County (separate entity).

  16. Mark Anderson 2022-01-08 16:23

    Oh come on guys and gals, let them shoot up the place. What could go wrong?

  17. John 2022-01-08 19:40

    Jerry, thanks for the link to the area ranges. It missed the trap range north of Spearfish. west of US85. It missed the Lead range on BLM land south of town. Likely missed others. (As if the area lacks places to shoot.)

    Marvin, what’s another Black Hills area Superfund site among friends?! Let’s not learn from the past. Let’s not do ANYTHING to preempt creating a new Superfund site. Think of the economic develop opportunity for sucking on the teat of federal Superfund site funds and the perpetual support of clean-up contractors. SD GFP is looking out for your long term economic welfare, man. Moscow Murdo Thune and Howdy Dowdy Johnson will leap on board. Seriously, this is an environmental justice issue since the crap from this future and existing Superfund sites flows through the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation (and ends up in the drinking water of Pierre, Yankton, Sewer City, and Lewis and Clark project towns). How about the GFP clean up what exists at the regions ranges BEFORE spewing new problems.

  18. jerry 2022-01-08 20:08

    John, On the Cheyenne River, where the old bridge on highway 63 was, there exists a sign that warns of cyanide in the fish taken from the river. I saw that sign some 40 years ago. Turns out 40 years is just a blink in the historical eye of what is still going on

    The South Dakota Game and Fish is a corrupted mass of knee bowing autocrats that could give a care if the fish you eat will kill you or that this boondoggle will. The problem with a superfund in South Dakota is that it’s just a name, nothing more than that. It is and will always be about the benjamins in their and their masters pockets.

  19. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-08 20:36

    Another Boondoggle. No surprise.

  20. All Mammal 2022-01-09 02:05

    Jerry, a majority of the shootings in Rapid City were perpetrated by teens. Teens were also the main victims. Rapid City schools were closed Dec 17, 2021 due to shooting threats on TikTok. Just last month, four murders occurred in one week in Rapid City. One teen was murdered. Another teen was a shooter. Rapid City Central High School is so crowded, even with armed officers inside the school, chances of them determining where and who the shooting is coming from before anyone gets hurt are minuscule.
    Students don’t need armed officers in schools to feel safe. That seems like the last thing teenagers feel safe around. My point is there should be ZERO guns in schools. And it should not be in the teachers’ job description to have to assess every incident per the massive three-ring binder provided by some outside consulting agency. Airports and courthouses have been gun free thanks to a simple apparatus. SD high schools have the right to be gun free as well. One school shooting compared to how many airport/courthouse shootings in SD?
    And I was left home alone when I was sick as a child. I also made my own dr.’s appointments and went into Shopko with a check to get my own prescription when I was in kindergarten. And I didn’t even burn the house down. I’m just afraid for our kids since it is so violent in Rapid City. And the schools can barely eek through the school day with enough healthy/willing/able faculty.

  21. jerry 2022-01-09 09:07

    High on meth drug deals gone bad, should indicate to NOem that “Meth, were on it” actually means that. There were not incidents at schools with guns, that I read about, anywhere in Rapid City.

    Got your own prescription??? As a kindergartener? No identification needed? I’m surprised you didn’t buy beer. If you could walk to Shopko, you weren’t that sick, you were just playing hooky, sly fox that you are.

  22. All Mammal 2022-01-09 15:19

    Naw. My mom drove me to the door. And the folks had me tending bar and transporting booze from distributors at 16 so beer probably was already mixed in with my similac.
    I actually think the loot invested in preventing covid and weapons in school has a lower cost than hiring the out of state studies and training that is the current reactive plan. Preventative measures are better for the budget and also save lives potentially. (I didn’t count most of the schools in the state because their student body population is just too tiny. And I’m assuming the clothing preferences of the rural kids don’t tend to have as much of an abundance of room in the pants to conceal weapons of mass destruction as the baggy style in-towners tend to wear. I did, however, include rural schools on the rez. Rural kids on and off the reservations are at high enough risk of suicide to declare emergency action that should take priority to any shooting maga complex.)
    And if shooting threats are shutting school doors in Rapid City district wide, that might play into the plot to ensure our state doesn’t produce intelligent, informed voters in the future. Only educate them enough to keep the middle/high school-to-prison pipeline running smoothly or to run a gas station or work at Taco Johns.
    It just seems like the more complicated the problem, the simpler the solution. I stole that from Dr. Seuss.

  23. jerry 2022-01-09 16:12

    TikTok from Iowa closed the schools. As Joe Biden would say, “Come on man!”

    Actually, the military and veterans have the high risk of suicide, but who am I to get in the way of your Dr. Seuss.

  24. All Mammal 2022-01-11 12:59

    December 17, 2021 Rapid City Area Schools, district wide, closed doors for the entire day for what they thought was a shooting threat from TikTok. One gun hostage event years ago in a school compared to no mentions of local courthouse/airport gun threats. So why do courthouses and airports qualify for metal detectors but not high schools? Because grown men with uniforms and guns need to be seen to let juveniles know their place. No such thing as a safe haven for kids to feel welcomed. Learning is a scary enough risk. Working, learning, and giving birth should be allowed to be performed in safe zones.
    And suicide is 10th leading cause of death in SD.
    But is the leading cause of death for ages 10-19 in SD. That was for 2020 according to

  25. larry kurtz 2022-01-11 13:11

    Anyone who has tried to buy ammo of nearly every caliber knows how hard it is to find even though Game, Fish and Plunder touts increased ammo sales in the state.

  26. jerry 2022-01-11 13:36

    TikTock from Iowa, hmmm,,, Okay then. So you put metal detectors in all the schools and day care. Then what? Who will man the detectors or will they be run by an armed robot and a drone. How will a metal detector in school prevent a suicide at home….asking for a friend.

  27. All Mammal 2022-01-11 18:58

    I am talking about Rapid City schools that were closed in Dec. because what Rapid City PD perceived as a possible shooting threat. People in Iowa, the Soviets, whoever initially produced it made the authorities nervous enough to close all schools in Rapid City according to..uh the whole town not having any school that day. I never said anything about Iowa.
    And I said there should be an emergency declared due to suicides before one is called for a maga shooting complex.
    And the metal detectors you should already know how those work and who operates them. Unless you have never been to an airport or courthouse. And I never mentioned daycares with thermometer/metal detectors. Just public high schools with a sizable student body.
    What I wrote is still there and I can’t figure out how I managed to wind up so misunderstood. I wasn’t trying to upset you in any way nor disagree with anything anyone has said so far whatsoever.

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