You might think that a government unit called the “U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” would mainly perform projects such as building military forts and similar facilities. Yet the Corps of Engineers has acquired jurisdiction over many things that have nothing to do with the military. In particular, “The Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation. It administers 422 lake and river projects in 43 states, spanning 12 million acres, encompassing 55,000 miles of shoreline and 4,500 miles of trails, and including 90,000 campsites and 3,400 boat launch ramps. Waters under its control constitute 33 percent of all U.S. freshwater fishing.” (Here is a list of the Corps’ 1,969 recreational facilities.) Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation, the Corps has announced that it is reconsidering the gun ban on its outdoor property.
The Corps allows hunting on some of its land. Except for hunting, possession of a functional firearm is prohibited on Corps land — even a handgun inside one’s own tent. In Nesbitt v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mountain States Legal Foundation (a public-interest law firm based in Denver) filed a lawsuiton behalf of two Idaho residents, regarding Corps recreational land in Idaho. In 2014, Federal District Judge B. Lynn Winmill (appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton) ruled that the ban violates the Second Amendment. The Obama administration then appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
by David Kopel