The National Rifle Association has been deadly silent about Republican party plans to scuttle western hunting.
Over at The Trace, Michael Spies lays it out in an interview with television hunting show host, and lifetime NRA members Randy Newberg:
In the West, a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures, including Arizona and Wyoming, have recently introduced — or in the case of Utah, passed — bills that seek to transfer ownership of federally held, publicly accessible lands to state governments, under the premise that states will provide superior management. Newberg, like many other hunters, says this is a ruse, claiming that once the land changes hands it will be sold to investors to make up for budget shortfalls, as Western states routinely liquidate their property. This would make the land private, and no longer accessible to hunters. (Nevada, for instance, has sold more than 95 percent of its state-trust land; earlier this month, Utah sold several thousand acres of its own.)
In his interview, Newberg notes:
Public land access is good for guns. Less public access means less hunting. In the West, hunting and fishing and camping are such a huge part of our lives. How can you say you’re representing your constituents and support state-transfer?
For the Montana Republican Party to have state-transfer in their platform makes it hard to convince hunters that they are looking out for their interests. That hunting and gun ownership are the same issue is a myth.