Letter To The Editor: Government Funded Shooting Complex Is Bad Idea

Dear editor: I am not a supporter of the ]$10 million government-funded shooting complex]. This should be a private business venture, not one that should be paid, operated and maintained with our tax money. Why hasn’t private business undertaken this project?"

July 20, 20233 min read

Mike schmid

Dear editor:

I have enjoyed Cowboy State Daily’s articles about the proposed shooting complex. I am an avid hunter, Second Amendment supporter and believer than one cannot own too many guns. 

That said, I am not a supporter of this facility. This should be a private business venture, not one that should be paid, operated and maintained with our tax money. Why hasn’t private business undertaken this project? 

The potential problems involve more than just the wind. Wyoming’s weather in general is unpredictable from September to June.  Most of our highways are closed because of weather events for half the year, it seems. That alone can limit the season for most of the proposed shooting complex’s outdoor functions – such as trap, skeet, sporting clays, archery and 3-gun matches, to name a few. 

With these limiting factors, the huge facility will still need to be staffed, utilities will need to be paid and maintenance and repairs won’t stop. Employees are hard to find for full-time positions, let alone part-time jobs.  The facility’s owning and operating costs will continue whether it is used or not. And as the facility ages, those costs will get higher and will also become more frequent.

The communities listed in the articles that are favorable in terms of wind don’t have an airport nearby, with Riverton possibly being an exception. And even with an airport, getting flights in and out or getting participants from the airport to the complex could be challenging in the winter months. 

As for classrooms for education, don’t we already have plenty of those? The Wyoming Game and Fish department has eight regional offices and a headquarters – where many of these classes are already held. Every county has a public libraries, public schools, and community centers. So, I think this reason for a new shooting complex is just weak.

The hunter, outdoor enthusiast and gun owner in me wants to support this idea, but as a taxpayer I just cannot do it. 

Finally, I just don’t believe it’s the Wyoming Legislature’s place to be spending our tax dollars this way. Create and maintain an environment within the state that will encourage this type of entrepreneurship, that is what our legislators should be focused on. 

I think a better investment for the WGFD, as well The Wyoming Tourism Board, for their respective $2.5 million would be in habitat improvement or an emergency feeding program for the wildlife they both depend as part of their existence. Just think how much $5 million would do for our struggling wildlife.

To reiterate my question at the beginning of this letter, why hasn’t private interests or business done this? Because of all the reasons I listed, it just does not make good financial sense for taxpayers.


Mike Schmid

La Barge, Wyoming

Mike Schmid is a former member of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission    

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