By Emily George, Brad Rowse Policy Fellow, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
I’ve heard it repeatedly - internships are supposed to prepare you with experiences for a career after college. However, having only been through the third week of my internship with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), I have already experienced things that I never expected to cross off of my list this early in my commitment. The most recent involves a visit to FN America’s Virginia location (FN Herstal), where I was afforded the opportunity to try out a wide variety of firearms FN America offers.
FN America has been a Mission Partner Platinum Level supporter of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation since 2004 when CSF formed the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), a network of more than 2,000 pro-sportsmen state legislators representing 48 states. As part of their partnership, FN has generously donated firearms, which help to raise the necessary funding that allows CSF’s dedicated staff the opportunity to work with federal and state legislators to protect and advance the interests of sportsmen and women in the halls of government.
Recently, CSF’s staff was invited to tour FN’s facility and was given the opportunity to shoot some of their high-quality gear, including a wide variety of pistols and rifles. Having never shot some of these types of firearms before, the experience was at first intimidating, but FN’s professional staff and firearms instructors created a comfortable atmosphere. The enthusiasm these firearms specialists brought to the range was contagious.
What I ultimately gained from this experience, was a better understanding of the tremendous positive impact that recreational shooting has on state-level conservation efforts. Through the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), every firearm and ammunition purchase provides excise tax revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies – the primary managers of our fish and wildlife resources and their habitat.
Not being an avid recreational shooter, I was previously unaware that shooting-related activities played such pivotal role in this funding structure. Whether you enjoy shooting a pistol, shotgun or any other type of firearm, every time you squeeze the trigger you are contributing critical conservation funds for state fish and wildlife agencies.
Without becoming aware of the link that recreational shooting has to conservation, my perception would still be narrowed to only the impacts that hunting and fishing have on conservation. I thank FN America for educating me on these issues, as well as their broader support of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
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- Facilitating voter registration at the time of hunting/fishing license purchase (5.71%)
- Addressing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer populations (11.43%)
- Increasing public access to private lands (24.76%)
- Granting more fish and wildlife management authority to the states (40.00%)
- Other (18.10%)