On September 18, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee marked up and passed S. 593, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act.
This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Senators Shelley More Capito (WV), John Boozman (AR), Michael Bennet (CO), and CSC Vice-Chair Heidi Heitkamp (ND).
This bill would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act to help increase public access to public target shooting ranges for sportsmen and women by reducing the current state and local fund match requirement for the construction, operation, and maintenance of public target shooting ranges from 25 to 10 percent. This legislation would also allow funds to accrue for five years as opposed to the current cap of two years, which would allow for state agencies to obligate funds over multiple budget cycles.
Since inception, the Pittman-Robertson Act has contributed over $11 billion to wildlife conservation through the contributions of sportsmen and women, and the manufacturers who produce the firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment that are subject to these important taxes. A significant portion of this amount is directly attributable to recreational shooters whom, per-capita, spend even more than hunters on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.
In July, 17 members of American Wildlife Conservation Partners, including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, expressed support for the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act in a letter to Congress and requested that the bill be included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
S. 593 now awaits to be scheduled for a floor vote in the U.S. Senate.
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?