Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) have filed an historic package of sportsmen’s bills as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill that includes NSSF’s top legislative priority, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which would clarify that ammunition is excluded from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Anti-hunting groups led by the Center for Biodiversity are suing the EPA to force a ban on traditional ammunition made with lead components that would devastate hunting and shooting sports participation and conservation funding.
Championed by the bipartisan senate co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the package has the strong support of NSSF and partner organizations such as the NRA, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Boone and Crockett Club and numerous other sportsmen and conservation groups. Comprising 16 separate pieces of legislation, the package includes the vast majority of the firearms and ammunition industry’s legislative priorities for the 112th Congress. A similar but less extensive package of bills–the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089)–was passed by the House in April by a bipartisan vote of 276 to 146.
“Senators Tester and Thune are to be commended for their leadership and willingness to reach across the aisle to co-sponsor this important amendment containing so many priority items for hunters and shooters,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “Passage of this unprecedented legislation will protect and defend our nation’s hunting, shooting and conservation heritage for generations to come.”
Priority Provisions of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act: Specifically excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act, preventing unnecessary regulations that could devastate hunting, shooting, conservation funding and the firearm and ammunition industries.
Making Public Lands Public: Requires that the 1.5 percent of annual Land and Water Conservation Fund funding is made available to secure public access to federal public land for hunting, fishing and other recreational purposes.
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act: Makes Pittman-Robertson funds available to states for a longer period of time for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges. The bill encourages federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges and limits liability for these agencies.
Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act: Allows for the Secretary of the Interior to authorize permits for re-importation of legally harvested polar bears from approved populations in Canada before the 2008 ban.
Recreational Lands Self Defense Act: Prohibits the Secretary of the Army from enforcing any regulation that keeps an individual from possessing firearms in Army Corps of Engineer Water Resource Development projects or facilities.
Logo courtesy of the NSSF