On Monday, August 17, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a reception for members and partners of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) titled “Changing Times: Sunday Hunting and Suppressors” at Timothy’s on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware. The reception was held concurrent with the Council of State Governments’ East Annual Meeting and welcomed over 65 guests, including more than 30 state legislators from 6 different states. Guests gathered for a focused discussion on policy issues affecting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Host-state legislator Representative Jeff Spiegelman, an avid hunter and recreational shooter, delivered the opening remarks. He spoke to the importance of hunting and angling in his home state, “The First State has a strong sporting heritage, and I was shocked to learn that we were one of very few states without a sportsmen’s caucus. So far, the idea has been very well received by members of both houses and both parties. I look forward to organizing a Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus with my fellow elected officials who are as passionate about their hunting and fishing traditions as I am.”
During the first half of the reception, attendees heard from National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) Director of Government Relations Jake McGuigan on repealing bans on Sunday hunting. For many years NSSF has worked hand in hand with CSF and other members of the Sunday Hunting Coalition to reduce restrictions on Sunday hunting. Recent victories were celebrated in North Carolina and Virginia, where the Sunday Hunting Coalition worked vigorously to repeal antiquated Sunday hunting restrictions in both states. Sunday hunting remains restricted in 11 states nationwide.
The American Suppressor Association’s (ASA) General Counsel Michael Williams then presented guests with an in-depth informational session on firearms suppressor technology. Legislators and attendees were provided resources to debunk the misleading myths about suppressors and learned about the many benefits that suppressor technology has to offer the sportsmen’s community. Williams was joined by Representative Patrick Brennan, Co-Chair of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, to discuss their recent legislative victory – legalizing suppressor ownership in the Green Mountain State. With the addition of Vermont, 41 states now allow their recreational shooters to benefit from this modern-day hearing protection technology.
In breaking news, on Thursday, August 20, ASA’s Michael Williams testified on HB 500 before a subcommittee of the New Hampshire House of Representative’s Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee. HB 500 is sponsored by New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Representative John Burt, and would legalize hunting with suppressors in New Hampshire. CSF and ASA have been working side-by-side on this effort for several years, resulting in HB 500 receiving a favorable vote out of subcommittee (3-2). A full Committee hearing on HB 500 has yet to be scheduled. CSF will continue to work with the ASA on this issue to ensure New Hampshire’s sportsmen and women are afforded the same hearing protection benefits as hunters in 37 other states across the nation.
Title Sponsor of the event was the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Host Sponsors included: American Suppressor Association, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc., Energy4US, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. CSF would also like to thank CSF Board Member John Larkin of J.C. Larkin, LLC for his assistance in making this event a success.
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?