Why It Matters: The Range Access Act (H.R. 1614) will bolster recreational shooting opportunities for America’s 32 million recreational target shooters and nearly 16 million hunters. Recreational shooting has continued to expand in popularity across the country, and this legislation will help provide additional opportunities for safe, accessible recreational shooting on federal public lands. As sportsmen and women know, lack of access is often cited as a leading barrier to entry for sportsmen and women and those interested in participating in our sporting traditions.
- Recently, the House Natural Resources Committee Federal Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on a number of outdoor recreation bills, including a top Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) priority known as the Range Access Act.
- The Range Access Act is a bipartisan bill led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Rep. Blake Moore and CSC Co-Chair Rep. Jimmy Panetta that would require both the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that each of their respective districts has a minimum of one public recreational shooting range.
On March 28, the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee held a legislative hearing on the Range Access Act, a high-priority for CSF, that seeks to enhance access opportunities for sportsmen and women. Prior to the hearing, CSF submitted a statement to the Subcommittee in strong support of this legislation.
Specifically, the Range Access Act requires the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to have a minimum of one free and public target shooting range in each of the respective districts. The Range Access Act complements multiple-use mandates of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management that support recreational shooting as an appropriate use of federal public lands. Furthermore, by providing dedicated, established target ranges, this legislation will improve opportunities to recycle spent ammunition and mitigate waste and pollution at non-designated ranges on USFS and BLM lands.
The Range Access Act also helps improve conservation funding through the Pittman-Robertson Act, which is the largest source of wildlife conservation funding for state fish and wildlife agencies. The Pittman-Robertson Act directs industry-level excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes and programs to increase access for hunting and target shooting. In Fiscal Year 2023 alone, the Pittman-Robertson Act generated nearly $1.2 billion in funding to support state-level wildlife conservation, shooting range construction, hunter education, and other critical programs that support our hunting and shooting heritage. Notably, approximately 80% of Pittman-Robertson Funding is generated by recreational shooters, who spend even more money on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment than hunters do.
CSF appreciates the Federal Lands Subcommittee for holding the hearing on the Range Access Act as well as CSC Member Rep. Moore and CSC Co-Chair Rep. Panetta for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation.