For this entry, I really can’t. My problem is that the subject matter is ridiculous, but it’s at the same time very serious. The Winchester Canyon Gun Club has lost its legal rights to some land in the Los Padres National Forest due to the Department of Agriculture overruling a decision made by local officials to allow the gun club to continue using the land.
Now, if you’re wondering why the Federal Government is interfering with decisions made by local officials, it’s because the land has been claimed to be sacred ground to the Chumash Indians. Now, I am all about respecting the religions of other peoples, and I certainly don’t think that we should go shooting up any sacred burial grounds, or areas that have archaeological significance. However, in this case, I smell bullshit.
The reason I smell bs is because in May, the gun club had a full environmental survey done by the Forest Service. That survey concluded that the Gun Club did not pose a danger to the environment or to visitors. So, if the Forest Service says that the range is safe, why is there a push to close it? Well, the simple answer would be because the push to “save the windcaves” is being driven primarily by the Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club has always been notoriously anti-hunting, and it would logically follow from that they are also anti-gun. While there is no overt evidence of an anti-gun agenda here, closing the Winchester Canyon Gun Club would actually be a significant loss for the California shooting community, such as it is.
As of right now, the club is still open, and is operating off the Forest Service permit, pending an appeal of the Department of Agriculture. The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture can be reached via this form, which I’m sure just goes to some flunky. If you do write, be polite and concise.