The House of Representatives recently passed the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R. 3065), which will ensure that shooters and hunters have high-quality public facilities at which to participate in recreational shooting sports and to learn about firearms safety.
The bill was included as Title XII of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act (H.R. 2578), which the House passed by a broad bipartisan margin.
Sponsored by Rep. Heath Schuler (D-N.C.), the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act amends the Pittman-Robertson Act to provide state game and fish agencies with more flexibility and discretion to be able to utilize Pittman-Robertson (Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund) funds for the creation, enhancement and maintenance of public shooting ranges. The bill is badly needed to respond to a significant decline in recent years of opportunities for recreational and competitive shooting on public lands.
The findings of the bill reads, “Congress finds that the use of firearms and archery equipment for target practice and marksmanship training activities on Federal land is allowed, except to the extent specific portions of that land have been closed to those activities. In recent years, preceding the date of enactment of this Act, portions of Federal land have been closed to target practice and marksmanship training for many reasons and the availability of public target ranges on non-Federal land has been declining for a variety of reasons, including continued population growth and development near former ranges. Providing opportunities for target practice and marksmanship training at public target ranges on Federal and non-Federal land can help to promote enjoyment of shooting, recreational, and hunting activities and to ensure safe and convenient locations for those activities.”
“This is an important victory for all sportsmen, target shooters and firearms owners, as well as for future generations of participants who will need public facilities to enjoy the shooting sports,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of NSSF, the trade association of the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.
Susan Recce, NRA Director of Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources noted, “We expect that the changes to the Pittman-Robertson Act will prompt state fish and wildlife agencies to build ranges to accommodate the growing numbers of people who are participating in the shooting sports, whether it be competitive shooting, recreational shooting or hunting. In Western states especially, population expansion to the borders of once remote federal public lands has resulted in closures of open space for people to target shoot.”
This is a nice win for all of us. Now, what sort of activities shall we host and attend to make good use of this?
Read more in our September 2012 issue. Back issues are available.
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