Ohio public shooting ranges face funding shortage
By Christen Smith
Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, the government agency tasked with funding the state’s public shooting ranges, faces a $220 million budget shortfall over the next decade. (Photo: Ohio DNR/Facebook)
Ohio’s public shooting ranges face a funding shortage in the coming years as state officials resist calls from sporting groups to increase resident hunting and fishing fees.
“This is a serious problem that affects all gun owners in Ohio,” said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, in a press release Tuesday. “To fully exercise your Second Amendment rights, we must have convenient access to safe, well-maintained shooting ranges. And as it stands, our aging public shooting ranges are in jeopardy.”
The association partnered with Columbus-based Sportsmen’s Alliance and other leading sporting groups in the “Protect What’s Right” campaign to raise awareness about the budget shortfall in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, the government agency tasked with funding and maintaining the state’s network of public shooting ranges. The Sportsmen’s Alliance estimates these ranges will need $52 million in upgrades and repairs — just a portion of the $220 million budget shortfall ODOW can expect over the next decade.
Hunting and fishing license fees fund the majority of