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July 31, 2020

For Being an Industry Champion, Sen. Capito Named 2019 NSSF Legislator of the Year

By Matt Manda

First-term West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) knows a thing or two about hunting, conservation and recreational shooting. It’s part of her heritage and it shows.

“Representing a state that is so deeply steeped in not only preserving the Second Amendment, our liberties and freedoms, but also a very vibrant hunting, fishing and sport shooting population…and preserving that for my citizens, has been extremely important to me.”

Sen. Capito Legislator of the Year

Sen. Capito spoke to dozens of firearm and ammunition industry leaders while participating in a virtual town hall event sponsored by NSSF Political Action Committee (PAC) and moderated by NSSF’s Larry Keane. For her staunch support of the Second Amendment and the shooting sports industry, Keane presented Sen. Capito with the NSSF 2019 Legislator of the Year award.

Walking the Talk

Born and raised in the Mountain State, Sen. Capito served in the House of Representatives for 14 years before moving to the upper chamber. During this time, she’s racked up an impressive list of pro-Second Amendment and firearm industry-related legislative wins.

Sen. Capito has not only spoken on the importance of preserving the hunting and shooting sports traditions for the next generation, she’s acted as well. Exemplifying her determination was Sen. Capito’s leadership in ushering through the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, (Public Law No: 116-17) better known as the Range Bill,” an effort that took more than a decade to pass Congress before receiving President Donald Trump’s signature just last year.

The Range Bill provides states greater flexibility to use their Pittman-Robertson Fund allocations by lowering their local match to 10 percent from 25 percent to begin construction of new ranges, or improve existing state-run public recreational shooting ranges. Keane explained, “We’re now seeing states take advantage of this legislation…to maintain and enhance public shooting ranges, which creates more opportunities for shooting, which creates more opportunities for firearm and ammunition sales, which of course generates more money for conservation.”

Keane touted Sen. Capito’s support of S. 69, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019, and her leadership on the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of increased resources for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). FBI NICS operates in West Virginia, and given the historic surge in firearm sales in 2020, Sen. Capito reinforced her support for increased funding.

“In times of crisis, with the pandemic, we saw a big jump in applications. But then these protests have gone on across the country and the defund police, which I don’t agree with, have really ‘respiked’ the sales,” she explained. “So we need to have the resources to be able to respond quickly, professionally and make sure nothing’s getting lost in the shuffle.”

Keane also praised Sen. Capito’s support of industry legislative priorities like the recently-passed Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act (S. 47) and the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act (S.1615).

The Road Ahead

Keane and Sen. Capito turned the conversation from past legislative wins to concerns ahead as America navigates the coronavirus pandemic and concurrent attacks on the Second Amendment. As Congress debates the next COVID relief package, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, tax relief and limited liability protections are all front and center for America’s small businesses and manufacturers to help get people back to work safely. But the firearm industry particularly faces unique, non-legislative attacks, like politically-driven banking and social media discrimination.

“This is an indication of strategy on the part of anti-Second Amendment folks to be able to find a different way to disrupt what the American people want,” Sen. Capito stated. “That’s the will of the American people. They can’t stop that because of individual rights that are guaranteed…so they try to find other methods.”

2020 Senate Elections Key for Second Amendment

Sen. Capito is on the ballot this November, along with a pro-Second Amendment controlled Senate to backstop against more gun control. She’s not taking the election for granted and promised industry town hall participants she will work hard to win re-election. She praised to her Second Amendment-supporting colleagues in battleground states like Arizona, Colorado, Montana and others, stating they will stop a “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer” from happening.

Sen. Capito finished by complimenting Keane and NSSF’s efforts to educate elected officials and their hard work fighting to preserve the hunting and shooting sports industry for future generations. Keane emphasized the importance of firearm safety and education. It’s why NSSF launched the #GUNVOTE® online resource for voters, especially first-time gun owners, so they don’t risk their rights at the ballot box.

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