January 18, 2019
NSSF Praises U.S. Senate Bipartisan Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act
Legislation Frees Funds for State Range Construction
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearms industry trade association, praised the introduction of S. 94, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2019 in the U.S Senate last week. The bipartisan bill was authored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).
“This is crucial legislation that would provide state fish and game agencies more flexibility to use Pittman-Robertson excise taxes dollars raised from the sale of firearms and ammunition to enhance existing public shooting ranges and to build new ones to meet the growing need for additional places for target shooters to participate in their sport,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and, for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport. NSSF applauds both Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Michael Bennet, as well as the other original co-sponsors, for their leadership and perseverance in this critical need.”
This legislation has been introduced in previous Congressional session, where it received overwhelming bipartisan support, but was never advanced to the president. This measure would give states more flexibility to allow for Pittman-Robertson funds to be used for the development and maintenance of public shooting ranges. Those funds are derived from an excise tax paid by firearms and ammunition manufacturers since 1937, with almost $12.1 billion raised for wildlife conservation supported by the sale of these products.
States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education course and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. The legislation would provide states greater flexibility on their ability to use Pittman-Robertson excise tax funds by increasing the cap of federal funds accrued for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent matching funds, instead of the current 25 percent. It would enable excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction.
Target shooters are largely responsible for the funds derived through excise taxes from the sale of firearms and ammunition products. That money is directly responsible for habitat conservation, recreational shooting and wildlife management, making gun owners, hunters and manufacturers largest financial supporters of wildlife conservation throughout the United States. The development of new ranges will help encourage participation in hunting and the shooting sports, ensuring wildlife conservation funding through the Pittman-Robertson Act will continue for generations to come.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org/.