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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) led eight Republican colleagues in introducing legislation that would bring parity to gun owners using public lands. The Recreational Lands Defense Act would restore Second Amendment rights of individuals recreating on lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).

“The federal prohibition preventing individuals from exercising their Second Amendment rights on U.S. Army Corps land is inconsistent and unconstitutional,” said Risch. “Arbitrary regulations based on often unmarked jurisdictional boundaries do nothing but punish law-abiding citizens. This bill will restore the right to bear arms for sportsmen and women recreating on some 12 million acres of federal lands.”

“The inability to carry firearms on Corps land is inconsistent with regulations governing public, federally-owned lands, and a violation of the intent of the Second Amendment,” said Crapo. “Enabling Americans to carry firearms on land managed by the Corps will allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and provide needed consistency across federal lands to reduce the complexity of tracking where one federal agency’s land management ends and another’s begins.”  

Under current law, an individual may carry a firearm on lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture, including National Parks and National Forests, as long as it is consistent with state law. The Recreational Lands Defense Act would treat Army Corps land in the same manner, allowing parity on nearly 12 million acres of Army Corps recreation lands. It would not change current legal prohibition of guns in federal facilities. 

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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