NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, applauded the introduction of the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO). This bi-partisan legislation will give states greater flexibility to use more of their designated federal wildlife resources (i.e. Pittman-Robertson funds) to establish safe recreational shooting areas. More specifically, the legislation will help facilitate the construction and expansion of public target ranges, including ranges on federal land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
“We appreciate Sen. Udall’s leadership in fighting for safe, accessible shooting facilities,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “This legislation clears the way for new shooting ranges and allows for the proper management of existing ones. Access to these facilities is paramount to continuing to pass on our hunting and shooting sports heritage to younger generations.”
A recent survey by the Responsive Management Company has show that the biggest obstacle to participation in hunting and the shooting sports is access. In addressing this concern, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act will not only help sportsmen and target shooters, but wildlife and conservation efforts as well. Active participation in hunting and the shooting sports means increased production of firearms and ammunition. Manufacturers of firearms and ammunition pay a federal excise tax – 11 percent on long guns and ammunition and 10 percent on handguns – which is used to fund wildlife and conservation efforts. By giving gun owners better access to ranges, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act will help to encourage participation in these pro-conservation pastimes.
By allowing the states more latitude in determining how excise tax dollars are used to enhance and develop public shooting facilities, wildlife conservation funding will increase. This benefits all sportsmen and is a strong return on investment.