The Problem with Gun-Owner Welfare

A media release today from Colorado House Republicans states: “House Bill 1275, which authorizes the state of Colorado to purchase property to build a multi-use shooting facility in Mesa County will go into effect. The shooting facility is projected to attract more than a 100,000 visitors annually along with world-class competitors from around the world.” Insofar as the purpose of this tax-funded venture is to provide opportunities for recreational shooting, it is a form of welfare for gun owners, and therefore a violation of individual rights. People who do not shoot guns recreationally, or who do not even like guns, ought not be forced to finance the recreational shooting of those who do. Now, there is  an element of this that probably supports the state’s constitutional mandate that government establish a general militia and store “public arms”—a mandate the state almost entirely ignores—so there is some aspect of the bill that comports to some extent with the proper purposes of government (i.e., to protect rights). However, any state expenditure in this area should be strictly tied to militia purposes. Otherwise, recreational shooting facilities should be tax-exempt, private enterprises with due protections from abusive litigation.