Wisconsin Proposing Range Rule Changes

From the Star Tribune:

DNR officials plan to present a wide-ranging package of regulations to their board next month that would prohibit the possession and consumption of alcohol on the ranges as well as prohibit shooters from using fully automatic weapons and tracer ammunition. Incendiary, exploding and breakable targets would be banned, although clay trap targets would be allowed. Shooters would have to unload their weapons when they’re off the firing line.

I don’t have an issue with prohibiting alcohol at the ranges. I’m surprised that isn’t already a rule. But do they really have issue with people shooting up public ranges with machine guns? I can see a rule prohibiting shooting glass and other items that could junk up a public range and create a hazard. Incendiary targets pose a fire hazard, so I can see that too. Exploding targets, well, that just sounds like fun to me, but I could see where you’d get people who abuse it. What do you think? Most of these rule changes, save the machine gun ban and maybe the rule about explosive targets, don’t sound too objectionable. What do you think?

15 thoughts on “Wisconsin Proposing Range Rule Changes”

  1. Once you open the door to restrictions…..

    (but I do also agree with the “No alcohol on the range” bit)

  2. Less restrictive than the PA Game Commission rule prohibiting more than three rounds in a gun on their public ranges.

    1. Which is really stupid since the only round limit is for shotguns, rifles and handguns have no round limit while hunting, so Why????

  3. Sounds like the range rules we have at our range in NE Ohio. If you are concealed carry, you must follow range rules once you get to the line. The no machine guns are to keep overzelous shooters from topping the berms. I don’t get the no exploding target rule, tannerite is kind of fun. If you are not shooting it, it must have an empty chamber indicator in place, or be in a case.

    In special cases we will allow auto fire from some of the police depts. that we allow to use the range. Sometimes they will let you blast off a mag to keep up the goodwill.

  4. The thing is you have to demand evidence for what they’re citing. When you say ‘topping the berm’, this is possible, but has it happened? can they attribute it with certainty to a machine gun shooter? It’s almost 90% likely they cannot. We get a lot of NIMBY folks fighting us time to time. There is a local duck hunting area close by that the local residents absolutely hate. Some of them have filed actual police reports citing pellet impacts from bird shot. From over a mile away. Not surprisingly, police have never found evidence of said pellet impacts, never found pellets, wads or any other evidence of the hunters doing anything but behaving responsibly. It’s unfortunate these liars have not been prosecuted for filing false police reports.

    If they’re having a clean up issue, then they should consider other options like an on duty RSO – even a volunteer. Make range cleanup of targets or debris left from targets a condition of range use.

  5. Prohibiting tracer/incendiary ammunition is generally a good idea, given the fire risk they pose.

    Prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not something I’m a huge fan of, but it’s something I can understand.

    Prohibiting shooting full-auto is something that I generally oppose, but might conditionally support for specific ranges on a case-by-case basis. In general, I think there are far better ways to handle it than a blanket ban. That being said, the language should make it clear that any such prohibition does not apply to select-fire guns used in semi-auto.

    Prohibiting exploding targets is something that probably makes sense, at least in context: They’re loud, so they disturb the neighbors, and they tend to make a mess that’s functionally impossible to fully clean up.

    Prohibiting “breaking” targets also largely makes sense: It sounds like their goal is to stop people from using glass (or similar) containers as targets. I’m largely fine with this particular prohibition, because I don’t want to have to worry about large quantities of broken glass at the range.

    Prohibiting “hot” guns off the firing line is another case where I’m not really sure I agree: It depends how it’s applied.

    1. Depends on where you are….Here in Indiana, and there in WI, there is very little “fire risk” even in August and September.

      Too wet.

  6. I think there should be a rule against shooting up the wooden target frames regardless of whether the firearms used are automatic. If caught they should be forced to pay for the lumber and provide labor to rebuild them. There is no need for that. Learn to act like a decent human being.

    And yes, unless the firearm is a carry weapon and immediately going into a holster, it should be unloaded. That’s just appropriate gun safety.

    1. Bingo on both counts.

      I could destroy a backstop easier with three rounds fired from a shotgun than a mag dump from a MG.

  7. “Prohibiting “hot” guns off the firing line is another case where I’m not really sure I agree: It depends how it’s applied.”

    I agree; it depends greatly on context. I used to shoot at a private range in Florida that was deep in the woods, and depending on the day and time, I’d often find myself the only person on the range. Some members actually had people pull up to the firing line and try to steal their guns off the benches while they were downrange, and it was secluded enough that anyone intending robbery a la Platt/Matix would have had plenty of privacy to do so. As a result, whenever I was alone, I’d always carry the rifle with me downrange, slung, with a magazine in, and that was standard practice for others as well. I’d think that would be a wise practice anytime one is shooting alone in a secluded area.

    1. +1. I would be derelict in my duty to protect my firearms from getting into the hands of criminals if I wasn’t CCing while at the range and in transit to/from.

  8. Well . . .
    Alcohol and guns don’t mix.
    Breakable targets create a mess that’s hazardous to walk on and hazardous to clean up.
    I have no experience with exploding targets, but I think if I were trying to punch holes in paper and the guy in the next lane was causing explosions, I’d be mighty unhappy.
    I’ve been involved in quite a few full-auto shoots (LE training and quals), and I’ve seen someone top the berm four times. It’s not all that theoretical, and I’ve seen it cause major property damage (but, thankfully, no personal injury).

  9. As a part time range officer at a large municipal range in south Florida, I can understand most of the regulations. Most shooters are polite, rational and clean up after themselves. However, there are the few that besmirch the majority. My range bans rapid fire. If you look at the ground in front of the shooting stations and the wood baffles above and in front of the stations, you’d know why. Shooters who’s finger NEVER leave the trigger from pickup to put down, loaded cocked weapons laid down on their benches while they discuss local events. Shooters that learned their gun handling from TV shows, Young men “teaching” their female companions how to shoot their .45 blaster when they can’t keep their rounds on a 2 foot square target at 15 yards. Dry fire? Whats that?
    My range insists that all firearms be unloaded upon arrival at the range. All shooters are asked upon arrival at the gate “Are your firearms unloaded, no ammunition in them at all?”.
    Every day, at least one with full mags in the guns, rounds in the chamber. The standard reply from them is “I didn’t know it was loaded.”, which doesn’t gain them much respect from the range officer.
    Rules and regulations are for the safety of the shooters (and the ROs)even if they don’t realize it themselves. Our motto is “We want everybody to go home with the same number of holes that they arrived with.”

    1. “Every day, at least one with full mags in the guns, rounds in the chamber. The standard reply from them is “I didn’t know it was loaded.”, which doesn’t gain them much respect from the range officer.”

      How would you know? Are you inspecting them at some point prior to them reaching the firing line?

      This is stupid, if so. Nothing like having a round negligently fired by some clerk manhandling a customer’s gun to check/unload it.

      Make a rule that they stay in the case/holster until reaching the firing line/area. Really pisses me off to have some know-it-all clerk ‘coonfingering my guns, let alone everything else that comes in the door. I stopped going to one of the local indoor ranges because of this idiocy. All the bullet holes in the wall behind the checkin counter should have been a clue. I guess they liked loud surprises.

  10. There is a sizable hill down range at our local range. We have had full auto shooters clear that. And those rounds go out of state and there are dwellings over there.

    I think that hill is near 1000 ft higher than the range.

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