House passes bill on shooting-range access

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A bill that would open some public shooting ranges to groups who reserve them ahead of time passed the House despite concerns it has too many exemptions for law enforcement or other public safety agencies.

Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, said it was "basically a way to open up the door a little bit" to overcrowding on shooting ranges.

It passed the House 61-13. It previously passed the Senate 27-1.

SB107 was changed markedly during the session when a variety of public safety groups successfully lobbied to have their ranges exempted from the proposal — including police-training facilities, the National Guard and county sheriffs.

Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, said he supported the measure but worried about a possible "slippery slope" — that just because ranges were built with public tax dollars, they should be available to the public whenever they're unused.

He said, for example, should the public be allowed to drive unused Utah Highway Patrol vehicles or use public safety agencies' exercise facilities.

"The point is we need to be careful," Greenwood said. "I hope this doesn't open up other doors of (accessing) equipment facilities that have been purchased by public monies."

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