NEWTOWN, Conn. - The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, has praised the bipartisan introduction of H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif).
"This legislation would provide state fish and game agencies more flexibility to use Pittman Robertson excise taxes dollars raised from the sale of firearms and ammunition to enhance existing public shooting ranges and to build new ones to meet the growing need for additional places for target shooters to participate in their sport," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and, for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport."
Joining Congressman Hunter are 23 original bipartisan cosponsors, including Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
Since 1937 almost $11 billion has been raised for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education course and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. The legislation would provide states greater flexibility on their ability to use Pittman Robertson excise tax funds by increasing the cap of federal funds accrued for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent matching funds, instead of the current 25 percent. It would also allow excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction.
In addition, the legislation would limit frivolous lawsuits that might result from the use of federal land for target practice and encourage federal agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities for maintenance of ranges on federal lands.
Target shooters are largely responsible for the funds derived through excise taxes from the sale of firearms and ammunition products. That money is directly responsible for habitat conservation, recreational shooting and wildlife management, making gun owners, hunters and manufacturers largest financial supporters of wildlife conservation throughout the United States.
Passage of H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017, would ensure that the Pittman-Robertson Act continues to maximize wildlife conservation.
The Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act was previously introduced H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act (Title II) and the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act in the last Congress as well as a stand-alone bill H.R. 2463 in the 113th Congress.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.