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July 28, 2021

Get Ready – National Shooting Sports Month® is Here!

By Larry Keane

Following a year of unprecedented firearm sales in 2020, the pace isn’t stopping during the first half of 2021. Millions purchased their first firearm, and judging by the brisk ammunition sales, new gun owners from all backgrounds, are spending more time in the fields, woods and ranges.

They’re just in time too. August is National Shooting Sports Month® and retailers and range operators are taking part. Recreational shooters have no shortage of opportunities to take part in fun activities and even bring along another new participant to join the family.

National Shooting Sports Month is here!

50 Ways to Celebrate

National Shooting Sports Month (NSSM) was developed by NSSF® to celebrate, share and invite newcomers and grow participation in the shooting sports. State legislatures and governors are celebrating and issuing official proclamations of their own to mark the impact shooting sports have in their states.

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed an NSSM proclamation celebrating the $2.1 billion economic impact the shooting sports supports in Georgia, the nearly 11,000 jobs and the $21 million in Pittman-Robertson funding the state received in 2020. Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed one too. The Magnolia State is home to 4,800 jobs related to the shooting sports which contributed over $900 million to the state’s economy in 2020. Mississippi got back more than $10 million in Pittman-Robertson funds. Several other governors have signed proclamations showing their support to the industry and highlighting August, including Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee, West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice, Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. Many more are expected to as well as NSSM officially kicks off in a week.

All told the shooting sports industry’s economic footprint is impressive. In 2020, the industry supported 340,000 jobs that paid $19.3 billion in wages. The total economic impact of the firearm and ammunition industry was close to $63.4 billion and states have received $13.6 billion in Pittman-Robertson funds to support wildlife management and conservation projects.

States Doing Their Part

State legislatures welcomed participation in the shooting sports. Even New York lowered the minimum age for hunters to get their licenses by two years, from 14 down to 12. State Sen. Dan Stec said it was a no-brainer. “The sporting community saw a big boost this past year. Many more hunting licenses were sold and there was a dramatic increase in hunter education courses.”

Pennsylvania’s Board of Game Commissioners adopted a resolution expanding Sunday hunting last year. State Sen. Dan Laughlin praised the expansion. “The additional opportunities that are available to hunters is paying huge dividends,” he said. “So, providing additional days to hunt, and especially on weekends, when many don’t have to work, goes a long way to address that issue and retain more hunters.” South Carolina is also considering expanding Sunday hunting on public lands. Residents there can still fill out a survey voicing their support. Data from several states already show hunting and fishing license sales are higher this year.

Not Afield? No Problem 

It’s not just hunting that’s growing. There are more opportunities for recreational shooting on the range, trap or skeet course. Range operators are offering courses and practice events for new shooters. Classes and special shooting events are sold out and jam-packed, including women-only events.

In Palm Beach, Fla., Powder Room Shooting Range and Training Center owner James Kramer said he’s never seen interest like this before. They held a special welcome event for new gun owners. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be very busy, but today has superseded all those expectations,” Kramer said. One attendee was especially excited for the practice. “I’ve never shot a real gun, but since I am the ripe age of 12 I might as well be shooting my first gun,” said Daniel Adams.

Be sure to check out NSSF’s resources and information to celebrate National Shooting Sports Month, welcome new recreational shooters and reinvigorate those looking to get back into the shooting sports. August is the perfect time to Let’s Go Shooting!

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