By ALAN SNEL
Even the NRA members don’t like the bullet debris and illegal shooting on the Bureau of Land Management’s non-shooting half-mile buffer zone in a remote area off South Las Vegas Boulevard only 14 miles from the California
“We want people to be responsible and obey the law of the land,” said National Rifle Association member Mike Zolczer, who volunteered Saturday morning to help clean up the sloping BLM desert land on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Gun users have left this land a quasi-landfill of bullet debris and shooting targets such as TV sets and propane gas containers. And many are illegally shooting in the half-mile buffer area that a 2015 Clark County ordinance declared is off-limits to shooting. The BLM worked with 75 volunteers — about half of them NRA members — to clean up the shooting debris and install barriers Saturday morning to crack down on the illegal shooting in an area that is off-limits to gunfire.
Even Dan Solow, Nevada Highway Patrol deputy chief for the southern command, lamented that gun users at the BLM site have caused 12 shooting incidents since Jan. 1 . “Some people park on the edge of Las Vegas Boulevard and shoot,” he told LVSportsBiz.com at the site this morning.
Those shooting incidents included a Henderson bicyclist getting shot in the calf during a Sept. 16 memorial bicycle ride on South Las Vegas Boulevard. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigated the shooting during the “3 Feet for Pete” bicycle ride, but did not arrest anyone because there were so many people shooting on the BLM half-mile buffer land and they were unable to identify the shooter who fired the bullet that struck the bicyclist. The cyclist survived the non-life threatening shot.
The BLM’s top law enforcement ranger for this district, Stephanie Clark, set the tone for the cleanup Saturday when she said it’s all about changing the culture of gun shooting on land where shooting is banned. LVSportsBiz.com interviewed Clark at a new concrete barrier that was installed at the half-mile mark on the BLM land.
Meggan Holzer, Clark County rural towns liaison who has tracked the shooting and debris problems, said the county ordinance that established the half-mile non-shooting buffer zone was only adopted two years ago. So, she said, many shooters might not even know it’s illegal to fire guns in that land a half-mile off the two-lane road that runs right next to Interstate 15.
“Any time you talk about limiting shooting, it’s a touchy subject,” Holzer said at the site Saturday. “We want people to recreate and keep people on the road safe.” Holzer said the county will work on installing non-shooting signs to educate people about the non-shooting half-mile buffer zone.
The land is popular with shooters who do target practice. In fact, during LVSportsBiz.com’s visit to the location this morning, several motorists pulled up with guns and wanted to shoot. Clark advised them to shoot at a different location. On Friday, Clark turned away 15 cars worth of shooters at the site because BLM was prepping for today’s cleanup and education efforts.
“They can’t take 15 minutes to pick up a few things,” Clark said after telling people they could not shoot on the site Saturday.
Illegal shooting has plagued the area for years. But this time, the BLM hopes a multi-agency approach and partnering with the National Rifle Association will cut down the shooting and trash in the half-mile buffer zone.
The NRA’s Zolczer, for example, pointed out the NRA and BLM will form a task force to cut down on the buffer zone woes. And the BLM is also working with the Nevada Highway Patrol, Metro Police and Clark County to crack down on the illegal shooting.
In fact, the BLM’s Clark said her agency can also cite illegal shooters under the BLM hazard and nuisance safety code.
And the agency will be installing concrete barriers at the 1/10 of a mile mark and at the quarter-mile mark to show the shooters they have to continue heading east from Las Vegas Boulevard until they get to the half-mile barrier.
Clark doesn’t like shooters who litter the site with targets such as fire extinguishers, TVs and propane tanks and leave them there for other shooters.
“It still litter,” she said.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com