February 19, 2019

Bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Introduce Bill to Expand Public Target Ranges

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Congressmen Ron Kind (WI) and Rob Bishop (UT) introduced the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2019 (H.R. 1222), which would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act to provide more flexibility to state agencies to construct, expand, and maintain public target shooting ranges.

Hunters and target shooters are the drivers of the Pittman-Robertson Fund, which collects excise taxes on firearms, archery equipment, and ammunition sales for conservation programs across the country. A large portion of the funds collected under the Pittman-Robertson Act are directly attributable to recreational target shooters, who per capita, spend even more money on taxable items under the Pittman-Robertson Act than hunters do. However, Pittman-Robertson funds have not always been apportioned in a way that reflects the contributions of target shooters, which is what this legislation seeks to address.

H.R. 1222 would give states more flexibility to use apportioned Pittman-Robertson funds for constructing, expanding, and maintaining public target ranges by reducing the state-side match requirement from 25% to 10%.  This bill would also allow to range construction funds to accrue over a period of five years – as opposed to the current cap of two years – allowing projects to be completed over multiple state budget cycles.

“In order to ensure the future of the American System of Conservation Funding, legislation that promotes participation of sportsmen and women is critically important,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane. “CSF is working with Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members on both sides of the aisle to introduce and pass common sense, pro-access legislation like H.R. 1222.”

Similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses, which also enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Prior to introduction of H.R. 1222, the Senate companion bill (S. 94) was advanced by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. CSF and partner organizations in the sporting conservation community groups sent a letter of support to the Committee.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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