To the editor: It goes against every fiber of my being to write a letter to the editor, but here goes. I’m gone for a week from Libby and come home to find out that “one commissioner” (I believe that is how it was worded about the “couple of bad apples” and yes I do know who they are) has taken it upon himself to close the rifle side of the Libby Shooting Complex. Now my first thought was, “Wow. Someone is on a power trip,” and my second thought was, “How dare someone tread on my rights and what I’ve worked so diligently to provide for this community?” Now, because that commissioner decided to close the range I cannot shoot my new AR15 on a week that I will be home and when my friends come in from out of town I have to tell them that we are being treated like children and all have to sit with our noses against the wall for 10 days so we will need to find another range further away to practice at. That is how this feels!
Yes I have worked diligently over the past 20 some years as a Friends of NRA committee volunteer to raise the funds that made that range into what it is today. Though we did not raise all the funds we contributed thousands of dollars. I also sat as one of the voting delegates at the state fund meeting to send the grants on to the NRA Foundation for approval. Those grants amount to $65,000 in range improvements. My family devoted time, equipment and man hours to help shape the range into something way better than we ever had when I was a kid learning to shoot. This is not how someone that respects the shooting sports gets the public to support them.
I would also like to point out that nowhere on the range were there rules posted that stated a target could not be set at 1500 yards on public land where others had set a target before! Suddenly now it’s not okay, even though when those “couple of bad apples” asked if they could put the target up they were not told they couldn’t. During the Seventh Annual Shoot for Pink in May, I heard several people in the room commend one of those bad apples for all they had helped provide at our range. I think cooler heads on all sides can come together, shake hands, put up some actual rules and make things better!
I was quickly reminded of my friend that comes to the USA every year from Australia to shoot 1000 yard Palma at the NRA’s Whittington Center in New Mexico. He earns medals every year for his shooting ability and I would love to have him teach me and my children what he knows; however we do not have that type of accommodations in place at our shooting complex. When he came to one of our Friends of NRA banquets in Montana, he explained why Australian citizens had lost most of their gun rights, and it is exactly what is going on right here in Libby! Infighting over disciplines. Shooters not sticking together and supporting each other. If you are for the Second Amendment, then you should be for every discipline out there. That is what I raise money for every year. I don’t care if you shoot cowboy action or want to plink gophers. It’s all about keeping our rights and standing together against those who would shut us down. I’m asking every shooting discipline to please stick together, and make our range the example of what can be rather than what not to be.