January 27, 2020

New Hampshire: Droves of Sportsmen Gather to Protect Firearms Shooting Range

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator

On January 23, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined forces with an overwhelming crowd of sportsmen and women, as well as in-state and national conservation partners, to oppose New Hampshire Senate Bill 469 (SB 469) – legislation that subjects the owner and operator of a shooting range to civil and criminal liabilities for the violation of noise ordinances that went into effect after the range was established. The hearing was held in Concord, NH, where the halls of the State House overflowed with eager opponents to the bill, awaiting their chance at the microphone.

CSF was on-site to speak in opposition to this bill and to submit written testimony outlining the detriments that this bill would have on sportsmen and women across the State.

SB 469 seeks to address a localized issue by crippling the ability of firearms ranges to operate statewide. Firearms shooting ranges have historically been exempted from civil and criminal liabilities for the violation of noise ordinances – something that was done by design based on the very function of their business. Ultimately, SB 469 would place shooting range owners and operators under threat of exhaustive and expensive litigation.

SB 469 also threatens to drive contributions away from the American System of Conservation Funding – a “user-pays, public-benefits” structure, in which those who consumptively use public resources pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right, to do so. Recreational shooters spend significantly more on firearms and ammunition than hunters, subjecting themselves to Pittman-Robertson Act excise taxes while also contributing the lion’s share of money towards this funding structure. If firearms shooting ranges are opened to the liabilities listed in SB 469, recreational shooters would have fewer opportunities, resulting in lost funds for the Granite State’s conservation funding.

CSF will continue to fight against SB 469, and all other legislation that would expose firearms ranges to unnecessary and onerous liabilities. To remain up-to-speed on bills such as SB 469, please sign up for CSF’s “Tracking the Capitols,” a free service that allows you to search for and track legislation on specific issues, and in the states, you care most about.

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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