Yesterday afternoon I received my weekly edition of Bullet Points, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's weekly news piece. The top item there is pretty much the highest priority item for many of the nation's outdoor organizations.
The United States House of Representatives is preparing to vote - maybe even today - on HR 4089 - the Sportsman Heritage Act of 2012. This bill combines four legislative priorities to expand recreational hunting, shooting and fishing opportunities and protect the firearms and ammo industries from being regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
I know, you're thinking, didn't the EPA deny the latest request to regulate lead? Yep, they certainly did, last week.
But you can't believe the Center for Biological Diversity (or any other group seeking to stack further regulations and restrictions on our right to hunt, fish, shoot -or whatever other activity they decide "average people" shouldn't enjoy) will stop, do you?
If you do, you're either delusional or you're not paying attention. Tenacity is the one certainty when you're dealing with "anti-" anything movements.
Personally, I've never had much luck just being against something. This country -like most entrepreneurial undertakings- is founded on being "for" things.
About three dozen national conservation and sportsmen's groups are for HR 4089. They include the NRA, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the NSSF, Boone & Crockett and Safari Club International. In fact, SCI describes HR 4089 as "a shot across the bow to this administration and organizations that are opposed to our outdoor heritage."
What's disturbing, at least to me, is the fact that other outdoor groups are against HR 4089. The National Wildlife Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the Wilderness Society are not endorsing the bill.
I'm not going to presume to their reasoning for opposing HR 4089, but my sensors go on full alert when outdoor organizations are on opposing sides of legislation.
Not because I believe we should always move in lock step, but I do believe that "divide and conquer" is a tactic that can be used to achieve outcomes that aren't in any of our best interests.
It may be the bundling of legislative priorities that is causing the schism, but it may be that passing something that positively impacts our rights to enjoy the outdoors - however we choose- is the issue at this point.
There's still time to get informed on HR 4089. In fact, you can go to this web address
and read the bill for yourself, track the progress and help make your own decision. At that point, it's time to make your voice heard.