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WARPIG Commentary on this issue

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PPMA Wisconsin Update

From the Paintball Product Manufacturers Association

We received the press release that follows from Wisconsin State Representative Lorraine Seratti, who has become instrumental in ensuring that the proposed rule we've been alerting you about gets a better and fairer review.  We also want to thank the folks at Nelson Paintballs, the paintball manufacturer mentioned in the release, whose contact with
legislators helped achieve the results-to-date.  The matter has not yet been fully resolved, but at least it's getting a fair hearing.  Thank you to the paintball media and everyone who participated in this fine example of "paintball standing united," including those who respectfully disagreed with our position. Anyone who wants to stay informed on breaking issues can add their name to the PPMA mailing list at www.paintballassociation.com.
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                
December 20, 2001
CONTACT REPRESENTATIVE SERATTI      
(608) 266-3780                      (888) 534-0036
 
Lawmakers Seek Re-write of DNR Paintball Rule
 
Department agrees to extend review period
 
MADISON.  At the request of lawmakers, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has agreed to extend the review period on a new rule that would ban paintball games on DNR lands.   The ban was one part of rule change proposal that addressed numerous unrelated issues, and as a result went largely unnoticed until recently.
 
"It is unfortunate that the people most affected by this rule were not aware of it earlier on, but I'm glad DNR is willing to work with us to allow further public input," said Representative Lorraine Seratti (R-Spread Eagle), who pressed hard for the extension.  "You try not to let anything
slip through the cracks, but when something like this happens it's best to take a step back and listen to people."
 
The proposed rule received a public hearing before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee in November.  The committee requested some minor changes at that time, but the public, particularly paintball enthusiasts, had apparently been unaware that the rule restricted access to DNR lands.
 
Mark Pettis (R-La Follette) who serves on the committee said,  "I hadn't heard a peep from anyone on this before last Monday, but I've had around 300 emails since then."
 
Though it was a little known sport just a decade ago, paintball has grown rapidly over the last ten years.  It is now nearly a billion dollar per year industry.  It is estimated that 7.1 million people play paintball nationwide.
 
"One of the oldest manufacturers of paintball equipment in the country is located right across the Menominee River from my home town," said Seratti.  "They employ over fifty people from Michigan and Wisconsin, and buy most of their raw materials from Wisconsin companies."
 
The Natural Resources Committee will hold a second public hearing on the proposed rule some time shortly after New Years, and is expected to request additional changes.  While there are a number of businesses in Wisconsin that offer organized paintball games, industry experts estimate nearly 80% of paintball play takes place on public lands.
 
"I don't think anyone is suggesting we should have people playing paintball in city parks, but it seems a bit unreasonable to ban these games on property where we currently allow hunting," said Seratti.

[Editor's note: WARPIG.com remains in contact with the PPMA which is continuing to deal with this issue.  We have reviewed one of the drafts of changes proposed for the DNR regulations which would allow paintball games on DNR land only with written permission of the DNR, and allow paintball target shooting under the same restrictions as firearm target shooting.]


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