The Range Access Act was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), would increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities.
Congressman Moore introduced this legislation to increase access for the public to practice marksmanship at safe recreational shooting ranges. When implemented it would require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to have at least one qualifying recreational shooting range in each National Forest and BLM district. Congressman Moore’s bill would also benefit conservation by reducing pollution at non-dedicated ranges on federal public lands while also generating additional Pittman-Robertson revenue.
The immediate benefit of this legislation is providing public access to safe recreational shooting ranges, especially in rural areas. Background checks for firearm sales saw a record 21 million in 2020 and another 18.5 million in 2021. So far, background checks for firearm sales in 2022 are on pace for the third strongest year on record, with background checks topping 1 million for 38 consecutive months. Those gun owners, many of whom are first-timers, are in need of safe and modern ranges to practice marksmanship skills.
This legislation has the added benefit of supporting wildlife conservation and improving recreational shooting access. Recreational shooting is tied to approximately 85 percent of the Pittman-Robertson excise taxes currently being paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers, making it a major driving contributor to wildlife conservation. Since the Pittman-Robertson excise tax was enacted in 1937, firearm and ammunition makers have paid $15.3 billion for conservation, construction, and improvement of public recreational shooting ranges. Adjusted for inflation, that figure tops $23 billion.