Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative William Owens applauded the progress made after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) met with the Massena Rod and Gun Club's Board of Directors to reach an agreement so that federal training does not prevent local members from enjoying the club's gun ranges. At the request of the gun club's leadership Schumer and Owens stressed to the federal agencies the need for CBP and ICE field office heads in Massena to coordinate best practices with the gun club in order to ensure that their officers use the range for training and qualification sessions without barring dues-paying members from using the club for unnecessarily long stretches of time. After the lawmakers push, the club owners report that coordination between club members is significantly improved, and that both members and federal agencies are using the range on a schedule that works for both groups.
"I'm thrilled that local members and federal agents have found a way to share the Massena Gun Club," said Schumer. "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 other's 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. I'm thrilled they groups got together and worked out a fair agreement that works for everyone. We're 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. My office remains at the disposal of everyone involved and I will continue to work towards 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."
"We are very happy with the response and cooperation of the federal agents who are working with our gun club and its members to better accommodate everyone. Without the help of Senator Schumer and Congressman Owens, we wouldn't have had this meeting at all. As result of it, we enjoy much better communications," said Dave and Betsy VanOrnum, Massena Rod and Gun Club owners
After being contacted by the owners and board of the Massena Rod and Gun Club, Schumer and Owens agreed to work to facilitate a win-win solution. The representatives highlighted a need for the area's 200 highly-trained federal agents to not displace the other 1,200 gun club members, who range from veteran marksmen, frequent hunters and novices. Schumer and Owens pushed for a meeting to produce a solution which would allow CBP and ICE agents in Massena to take full advantage of the Massena Rod and Gun Club's four shooting ranges, without blocking other members from sharing the facilities.
Schumer and Owens pointed out that CBP and ICE agents' increasing use of the Massena Rod and Gun Club's shooting ranges for qualification courses, trainings and certifications had been frustrating the club's other members. Schumer and Owens specifically took issue with the policy that unnecessarily prevents shooting sportsmen from sharing the ranges with law enforcement agents during certain training exercises. Both members of congress recognize the value of the club to law enforcement due to its first-rate facilities and convenient location near the ICE Field Office in Massena, NY, and are pleased that coordination has improved at the facility.