House votes to allow firearms on lands managed by Army Corps

Gosar was joined by Republicans and Democrats who argued that current rules make it difficult for sportsmen to defend themselves in the vast areas of land managed by the Corps.

"The Army Corps of Engineers owns or manages more than 11 million acres of federal lands where Americans are not allowed to carry firearms for self-defense, including 90,000 campsites and thousands of miles of trails where law enforcement is scattered.," Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) said. "Our amendment will simplify regulations for law-abiding citizens by defunding a federal regulation that bans firearms for self-defense on Army Corps lands."

Altmire noted that he and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) have proposed a longer term solution to this problem, the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act. A longer term answer would be needed, as Gosar's amendment would only apply to the next fiscal year, which begins October 1.

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) opposed the language, and said it could allow firearms and explosives near dams and water treatment plants.

"I don't believe there are other members of this body who believe the Corps should not be able to stringently enforce rules on explosives at dams and water projects and treatment facilities that they have jurisdiction over," Visclosky said.

However, Altmire said the language would not change the rules for dams or federal buildings.

Gosar's amendment is one of several that the House has considered to the spending bill, H.R. 2354. The House is expected to wrap up work and approve the bill sometime this week.