LOUISVILLE - Scheduling issues caused by an influx of federal agents training at the Massena Rod and Gun Club have been resolved, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. William L. Owens.
Mr. Owens and Mr. Schumer issued a joint statement Thursday saying communication had improved between the federal agencies the other club members. The federal government pays for a gun club membership for its trainees in Customs and Border Protection and Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
But unlike other club members, the federal agents are allowed to block access to other members while training. The agencies restrict access at the club four or five times a year for a week at a time and additional time if trainees need to make up a day, club officials previously said.
Some members had complained the agents were occasionally using one of the ranges without scheduling it beforehand.
Of the clubs 1,450 members, 127 are federal agents: 47 from the U.S. Border Patrol, 61 from Customs, 13 from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and six from the U.S. Coast Guard. An additional 23 Massena Village Police officers, 44 St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police officers and state troopers also use the grounds for shooting.
In March, club board members met with the federal agencies in Massena to discuss scheduling and communication with the assistance of Mr. Owens and Mr. Schumers offices.
Club board member David VanOrnum said the issues have cleared up since the March meeting.
Theyre scheduling with us very well now, he said. I dont think theres been one time since we had met with them that they were down there unscheduled.
Mr. VanOrnum said the club will continue working with Mr. Schumer and Mr. Owens to land grants and improve one of the gun ranges for the federal agents.
It would be specifically for them to better take care of their needs.
Mr. Owens and Mr. Schumer were both pleased with the scheduling issues had been resolved.
Im thrilled that local members and federal agents have found a way to share the Massena Gun Club, Mr. Schumer said. There is a way for both federal agents, who we need and rely upon to protect us, and local gun owners to enjoy the range without getting in each others way. When the board of the Massena Gun Club asked Congressman Owens and me to help out, this is exactly what we were hoping for. Im thrilled they groups got together and worked out a fair agreement that works for everyone. Were back on target.
I am glad to hear that communication has improved between all parties and that progress is being made toward a workable plan that will satisfy the Massena Rod and Gun Club, local gun owners and border security personnel alike, Mr. Owens said. My office remains at the disposal of everyone involved, and I will continue to work toward a solution that accommodates the mandatory firearms training for border patrol agents while ensuring the Rod and Gun Club can continue playing an important role in the community.