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Gun Advocates Rally Troops, Get Senate Cmte to Refer Shooting Range to Appropriations

Game Fish and Parks and the special interests pushing the Rapid City shooting range scored a bullseye yesterday, keeping their pistol playground alive in its second Legislative incarnation. After seeing their first bill, House Bill 1049, shot down in committee a couple weeks ago by impassioned testimony from neighboring ranchers, the Stockgrowers Association, and nice Christian girl who likes to ride horses but not under a hail of gunfire, gunplayers packed Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Thursday hearing on Senate Bill 175 with 26 proponent testifiers, more than tripling the turnout they mustered for the previous bill.

Even with all that manpower, the big shooters couldn’t win a straight “Do Pass” from the committee. The initial motion from Senator Troy Heinert (D-26/Mission) and seconded by Senator Julie Frye-Mueller (R-30/Rapid City) was to kill the emergency $5M funding proposal. But Senator Herman Otten (R-6/Lennox) immediately substituted a motion to dodge responsibility for this contentious project and refer SB 175 to Joint Appropriations. Sending the Sb 175 to the budget committee is perhaps the best chance Game Fish and Parks and the Governor have to keep this project alive: the appropriators can slip this project into the budget adjustments bill for the current fiscal year or the general appropriations for FY2023 and thus insulate the proposal from opposition, as a majority of legislators will never block the entire state budget over one disputed $12M project. The motion to give Appropriations the chance to logroll SB 175 passed 5–2, with Heinert and Frye-Mueller opposed but Republicans Cammack, Duvall, Klumb, Otten, and Smith in favor.

Joining the opponents at the mic this time in committee was Nancy Hilding fo the Prairie Hills Audubon Society. After listening to all the other speakers for an hour and 25 minutes, the committee told Hilding she had ten seconds to speak. Hilding nonetheless managed to keep the Zoom floor for a couple minutes to summarize her five-page argument that it is premature for the state to approve and fund this project before the necessary environmental impact study has been done. Hilding notes that by asking for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding, Game Fish and Parks has triggered the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires an environmental assessment be drafted and posted for public comment, followed by USFWS review and official findings. Hilding backs the alarm neighboring ranchers have raised about lead pollution from spent ammunition on the site by noting that siting a gun range on sloping terrain like the targeted 400 acres on Elk Vale Road violates the EPA’s “Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges,” which recommend that, “If possible, ranges should be developed on flat terrain, as it facilitates reclamation and reduces the change of off-site migration due to surface water runoff as compared with highly sloped terrain.” Hilding also cites noise pollution, disturbance of wildlife, fire risk, and stray bullets as environmental impacts that warrant waiting for a proper environmental assessment before throwing money at this high-caliber playground.

But we may not get a chance to address these arguments and the merits of the shooting range directly again, as Senate Bill 175 may disappear into the great mulligan stew of the overall budget.


  1. Jake 2022-02-11 10:09

    This “sleight of hand” if done by a card shark dealing stud poker, loading himself with aces from up his sleeve, by our legislature shows the spineless cowards of public servants, is an ever-growing sickness, largely started and supported and fed by the Republican party. Cammack, a DUI defendant, wouldn’t be inclined to allow this if it took a scection line of his access, or was close by his ranch. Spineless hypocrite.

  2. John 2022-02-11 11:15

    What crap. Apparently 10 shooting ranges within 60-75 miles is not enough “opportunity”.
    GFP ought to stop future funding to the outliers if they build their white elephant.

  3. Mark Anderson 2022-02-11 17:09

    Well we sometimes hear the shooting on our morning walk. It sounds like someone nailing a house. It’s across the interstate but when the wind is right you can hear it. Building a house is a good thing.

  4. jerry 2022-02-11 19:43

    Least we are all now clear on who runs this state and it shore ain’t NOem. Poor girl better get used to being a puppet while hoping the hand is well manicured.

    NOem is the Dmitry Medvedev to the Game Fish and Parks, Putin.

    NOem just signs the papers like a good little secretary.

  5. RST Tribal Member 2022-02-11 19:44

    State House or Steak House. Depends on who is asking and who is providing. The lobbyist run the State House sending their inept inbred Republicans servants to that place in Ft. Pierre.

    To what is to gain with the shoot them up range? Not much economically, but boy-old-boy there is political gain from investors who been waiting for just the right moment when enough fools fill a room acting in their favor.

    There two things you cannot stop; 1) a bullet once shot, and 2) a room full of fools creating space and opportunity for bullets to fly.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-02-12 08:46

    Ranchers should hit crackerbarrels hard this weekend and tell Senator Gary Cammack he may not get to back to Pierre if he keeps siding with the Governor over his own constituents.

  7. Matthew k 2022-02-12 18:06

    Today on Kbhb radio Gary Cammack said the ranchers should get ten consorns for him to take to the game fish and parks and have them address them what the hell have we been doing for a year three county meeting and twice in the legislature and they have not a clue yet thank you Gary for showing there and your ignorance the only issue that they have addressed is the start to close and move the section line because that is a law that has to be followed Meade co has rejected this on several times in the past few years they know the reason for section lines and value there existence why haven’t they purchased the land yet why did Jim scull give a price for 850 dollars a acre over appraised value and sign a purchase agreement without authorization from gfp this was straight out of John Kansas mouth are we getting close to ten yet Gary and I am only one of the ranchers

  8. Jake 2022-02-12 19:32

    Cory, with your uncanny ability to give us news we never get from other media re:our state legisators and government-could you give us a current update on Senator Cammack’s status in regards to his DUI of last year?
    Yes, a possibly inebriated state Senator driving on the state’s highways. Now it seems, he wants to come riding into the fray on a white horse pretending to be a saviour to other ranchers havig their problems with state government! Standard operating procedure of politicians with no spine or backbone to serve the public-only themselves. Offering a solution to ranchers in opposition to the GFP proposal of getting “concerns” to him so he can “act” on them! What horse puckey! Where has he been for the past months of this thing developing-surprising as it was to those affected, the local ranchers, he-Cammack-being of rancher background shoud have and probably was, fully aware of what GFP had in mind.
    What say ye, Sen. Cammack, why silent ’til now?

  9. jerry 2022-02-12 22:01

    Lead is dead. I personally prefer steel shot. Does the job nicely and you don’t see lead wasted skinny geese that die needlessly.

    DaveFN, why to you think they stopped with adding lead to paint. Oh, bad question for you as it seems you may have been chewing those paint flakes as a kid. “”The history of control of lead-based paint and other lead hazards is clear,” Davis told USA TODAY. “The health effects of lead in people, especially young children, are well known and, therefore, exposure to lead must be prevented as much as is practicable.”

    What type of shot is illegal when hunting waterfowl?
    The ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was phased-in starting with the 1987-88 hunting season. The ban became nationwide in 1991.

    What is the fine for shooting lead at waterfowl?
    Hunting waterfowl with lead shot does not have an established minimum fine above $25, nor is there a mandatory period of license revocation, nor is there a civil penalty associated with the use of lead shot.

    Will lead shot be banned?
    Lead shot is to be banned from all wetlands in the European Union, in a decision that is expected to pave the way for phasing out all toxic ammunition.

    Is shot still made of lead?
    In the United States, UK, Canada, and many western European countries (France as of 2006), all shot used for hunting migratory waterfowl must now be non-toxic, and therefore may not contain any lead. Steel was one of the first widely used lead alternatives that the ammunition industry turned to.

    Get the lead out.

  10. JW 2022-02-13 21:20

    All the howl about Cammack and he”s one of the five that voted to send this travesty to Joint Appropriations. He doesn’t like tough decisions so just shuffles them off to somebody else. A special brand of plastic.

  11. Porter Lansing 2022-02-14 11:17

    San José,CA recently approved a “first-in-the-nation solution to reduce gun violence”:
    – Requiring liability insurance and a $25 annual fee for gun ownership.
    – The latter could raise about $1.3 million a year and pay for a nonprofit foundation aimed at addressing gun problems.

    * “We can only guess where the future of USA will lead but one thing’s for certain. California will get there first.”

  12. mike from iowa 2022-02-22 18:04

    Study: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Increase Gun Deaths
    A new study of nationwide “Stand Your Ground” laws finds that they may have led to hundreds more firearms homicides per year, which shouldn’t be all that surprising, since a previous study of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law — the first in the nation — found similar results, and an earlier nationwide study found a correlation between homicides and high rates of gun ownership and concealed carry laws.

    The new study, published yesterday in the peer reviewed journal JAMA Network Open, found that in an assessment of 41 states, Stand Your Ground laws were “associated with an 8% to 11% national increase in monthly rates of homicide and firearm homicide.” The increase in gun deaths was especially sharp in Southern states, reaching “10% or higher for many Southern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana.”

    Kinda figures SYG was a bad idea whose time has yet to come. Try telling that to arrow minded magat bigots afraid of POC.

  13. Porter Lansing 2022-02-22 18:24

    MFI – I’ll bet Cory’s bicycle that the proportion of white shooters in Southern states is in direct proportion to Black victims.

    I heard, in Florida, “If you shoot a “n-word” walking by, drag his ass in the house and you’ll not even get questioned by the Poh-Leese.”

  14. mike from iowa 2022-02-22 19:21

    Wouldn’t surprise me, Mr porter, but Ahmaud Arbery’s killers got convicted on hate crimes charges today on top of life without parole sentences. hey didn’t have time or the foresight to drag hm in anywhere.

  15. Porter Lansing 2022-02-22 20:06

    @MFI – The Arbery verdict was outstanding and contrary to 150 years of Southern history.

    The crackers that kiled Mr. Arbery were caught by a cell phone camera.
    Without that evidence, they’d be swilling cheap beer, bragging about their “Black bounty”, and claiming Mr. Arbery was a neighborhood threat.

    No matter how much or how often Governor Noem tries to hide accurate history,
    She’ll continue to be on the wrong side of it.
    Her CRT ban includes banning any mention of one of America’s worst memoirs.

    Lynching represents a large, ugly stain on the history of the United States. Most often carried out by hanging, it is most often used against people who are only accused or suspected of a crime or violation of the social order.

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