December 21, 2022
NSSF Profile Q & A: U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.)
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to post the latest of our occasional Q&A features with an elected official who supports hunting and the shooting sports. NSSF thanks U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) for agreeing to talk with us.
1) What was your first experience shooting, either recreationally or on a hunt?
When I was 8 or 9 years old, I remember my dad walking me through shooting a Belgian Browning SA-22. He taught me proper technique, the do’s and don’ts, and everything involved with firearm safety. A few years later we would go to the Tar Heel Gun Club to shoot. When I was 10, I was blessed to get shooting lessons with the legendary Lucky McDaniel. He’d toss plates into the air for me to aim at, and eventually we got down to tossing quarters. Those experiences were among my fondest memories growing up.
2) What shooting sports or hunting activities are most common and important in North Carolina?
Hunters have a wide range of game to hunt, from waterfowl in Eastern North Carolina to deer in the Piedmont region and bear in the western mountains. In 2020, North Carolina’s nearly half a million hunters spent $950 million in retail sales and contributed $716 million to our state’s economy.
3) How do you and your family contribute to the hunting culture of North Carolina?
Under former Gov. Jim Martin, my father was appointed to the N.C. Wildlife Commission and later served as Chairman. My oldest brother Joe also served on the Commission.
In 2010, I was approached by a friend regarding the purchase of a bankrupt gun range in Rural Hall, N.C., for a local police department to conduct firearms training. When I took over the range, the police were my first and only customers. Later, the training officer told me, “Never underestimate the need of the public to have a safe place to shoot.” It was on his advice that we opened the range to the public. The store’s motto is: “Helping our community responsibly enjoy firearms.” We host hunter safety courses for free at the store as well.
My dad has a sign posted near some of his stuff that reads, “Put things back as you found them… or a little bit better.” That sign also reflects how I see our mission as conservationists: To put things back as we found them…or just a little bit better.
That is why in the last 6 years, I’ve been proud to help outdoorsmen and women across our state enjoy hunting and fishing and one of my proudest votes was in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act a couple years ago.
I also support legislation that blocks the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from implementing a ban on lead ammo or tackle on federal lands.
4) Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearm industry is particularly important to you and why?
I support several bills that narrow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) discretion when it comes to interpreting firearm laws that Congress has enacted. This includes a resolution of disapproval for the ATF’s “Frame or Receiver rule.” Unclear enforcement of this rule has already led shippers like FedEx and UPS to impose additional burdens on FFLs. I also cosponsored the No REGISTRY Act (H.R. 6945) to reform the ATF’s out-of-business records collection and legislation (H.R. 1827) to prohibit federal funds from being used to support state gun owner registries. In addition, I am closely following the issue with ATF’s new interpretation of “willful violation” that is leading to a sharp increase in FFL revocations. ATF has refused to respond to the letter I sent in June on this topic. I will continue to hold ATF accountable in the U.S. Senate.
In addition to these bills, I have strongly opposed efforts to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). For the past 17 years this bipartisan law has been protecting innocent actors in the firearms industry against frivolous lawsuits. Democrats in the House of Representatives announced a vote on a bill to repeal the PLCAA in July, but thankfully it was pulled from the schedule before a vote.
At the end of the day, we don’t have a device problem, we have a people problem.
5) What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts?
We should work on expanding entry points for more people to get into it. That means raising awareness, familiarizing folks with firearms and gun safety so we reduce fears. That means more mentoring from older sportsmen and women to take young people into God’s creation. Getting outdoors has many positive benefits societally, for mental health, and so much more.
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