House Democrats are staging a sit-in to press for a vote on gun control measures today — sort of like the Bundy brothers and associates did in Oregon to protest a harsh prison sentence for a rancher, right?
Meanwhile, the Interior Department is strenuously objecting to a bill that would place gun controls on the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management on federal land.
Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and the rest of state’s congressional delegation have introduced a bill that would terminate the law enforcement functions of the two agencies on federal land and provide grants to states to handle that function. Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei is a co-sponsor.
According to The Hill, on Monday Harry Humbert, Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for public safety, wrote a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee chair, saying, “The Department strongly opposes this bill, which would terminate these law enforcement functions and significantly hinder effective management of our public lands.”
But Chaffetz and Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah wrote, “This legislation will help deescalate conflicts between law enforcement and local residents while improving transparency and accountability. The BLM and U.S. Forest Service will be able to focus on their core missions without the distraction of police functions. This is a win all around.”
The bill raises the specter of the Oregon protest that left one protested dead at the hands of Oregon troopers and the standoff at the Bundy ranch at Bunkerville between armed BLM agents and armed defenders of Bundy.
In an article in the Salt Lake City Tribune in October 2014, rural Utah sheriffs described the head of BLM law enforcement as Public Enemy No. 1.
“Elected law enforcement officers from Nephi to Blanding call him an arrogant and dishonest bully who has little regard for local authority and dodges accountability, derailing a collaborative approach to police work on the state’s federal lands,” the article declares.
Humbert also wrote, “This is absolutely the wrong way to address a very real problem. Instead of relieving tension, the bill legitimizes anti-government conspiracy theories, dumps fuel on a smoldering fire and makes law enforcement more difficult.”