Senate advances shooting-range bill

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The Utah Senate on Monday passed a bill that would allow groups to reserve time and access public shooting ranges, but several lawmakers — including the sponsor — said they were disappointed ranges used by law enforcement for training were excluded from the measure's final draft.

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, said he'd wanted SB107 to help groups like the Boy Scouts of America access indoor shooting ranges to help them attain merit badges.

He said the state is woefully short of facilities.

But law enforcement groups feared public groups accessing ranges they use for training purposes would prevent them from scheduling shooting exercises. During its committee hearing, law enforcement successfully lobbied to have ranges they use frequently removed from the bill's scope.

"So far we've exempted out National Guard, wildlife ranges, Highway Patrol ranges, the POST ranges, municipal public ranges and just about everything but the kitchen sink," Christensen said Friday before the bill's preliminary passage. "It doesn't leave a whole lot, but we'll take what we can get."

The measure passed 27-1 and now moves to the House.

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