Senators take aim at improving public shooting areas

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D-Boulder) and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch (R-Boise) are co-sponsoring a bill that aims to improve and create more public shooting ranges for gun owners and sportsmen.

Titled “The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act,” the legislation would allow states to allocate a greater proportion of the federal Pittman-Robertson funds for recreational shooting and target practice. 

The Pittman-Robertson Act is a sportsman-driven fund began in 1937 that enacts an 10-percent excise tax on firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment. The funds are allocated to states for a variety of wildlife purposes, including hunter safety programs and the development and maintenance of shooting ranges.

The Udall-Risch bill would provide some flexibility in the funding to help states build and maintain safe public shooting ranges, and by limiting the liability exposure to federal land agencies regarding the use of their land for target practice or marksmanship training.

“Hunting and recreational shooting are legitimate activities, but the number of places where people can safely practice shooting has been steadily dwindling,” Udall said. “This bill is designed to help states create more public shooting ranges to ensure there are safe, appropriate places where hunters and gun enthusiasts can go to practice.”

Udall said since it’s sportsmen who pay into the Pittman-Robertson Fund, there are no general taxes involved in the proposed legislation.

“This bill doesn’t call for any new funding, and it wouldn’t raise any fees or taxes,” Udall said.  “It would make a common-sense change, giving states the flexibility they need to create and maintain shooting ranges.”


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