FAA denies DOD request for restricted airspace over firing range

Senator Clynt Ridgell (file photo)

The Federal Aviation Administration has denied a request by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to restrict airspace over the proposed small arms firing range for the Marines on the northern tip of Guam and northwest of Andersen Air Force Base, the office of Sen. Clynt Ridgell announced.

The senator was among those who responded to the Federal Aviation Administration’s notice of proposed rulemaking published on March 5, 2019, requested by the USMC.

Ridgell said his chief concern was the necessity to restrict airspace at 4,900 feet mean sea level (MSL) for live-fire from small arms weapons training activities proposed within the established R-7202, located at the northern portion of Guam as part of the USMC’s Live Fire Training Range Complex.

According to the senator, he didn’t understand the need to restrict this much airspace over a small-arms firing range and that in fact, it turns out that this airspace restriction is completely unnecessary.

On July 8, 2019, the FAA threw out the proposal, stating that they do not establish restricted areas for small arms gun ranges and concluded that “issuing a restricted area for small arm gun ranges in Guam would set a precedent nationwide at military and countless civilian gun clubs.”

The FAA further stated that “the USMC has numerous live-fire ranges without the segregation that a restricted area provides and can complete their mission safely and effectively in Guam without one.”

Reacting to the news, Senator Ridgell said: “This, to me, is an example of how the Department of Defense asks to restrict more space than it needs. In fact, the FAA notes that the USMC has numerous firing ranges that it currently uses without this type of restricted air space. Why, then, are they asking for this type of restriction on Guam? Why is Guam different? This is a prime example of why we all must remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye over DOD and its plans for the military buildup. Who knows what other spaces they will unnecessarily restrict if left unchecked?”