February 5th, 2017

New Legislation Could Help States Use Fed Money for Gun Ranges

Target marksmanship training support act H.R. 788 Congress NSSF shooting range legislation
H.R. 788 will help States build and maintain shooting ranges with Federal funding assistance.

Federal Legislation has been introduced that will help build and maintain shooting ranges. H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017, was introduced in Congress by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and a bipartisan group of 23 co-sponsors. The provisions of H.R. 788 will help States fund public shooting ranges with Federal Firearms Excise tax revenues.

“This legislation [H.R. 788] 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 V.P. 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.”

Since 1937 almost $11 billion has been raised for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education courses and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. H.R. 788 will help states use Pittman Robertson revenues by increasing the limit on Federal funding of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent State-supplied funding, instead of the current 25 percent. It would also allow Federal Excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction.

In addition, the legislation would limit frivolous lawsuits arising from the use of Federal land for target practice and encourage Federal agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities for maintenance of ranges on federal lands.

Pittman-Robertson gun range funding

Story by NRAHuntersRights.org and NRAblog.com
Shown above is the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in Kindards, SC. Belfast was the first public, unmanned shooting range opened and paid for completely with funds raised by NRA Grants and the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program … an act made possible through Pittman-Robertson grants. Several other state Natural Resource Departments have followed suit.

Legislative History: The Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act was previously introduced as H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act (Title II), and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act in the last Congress, as well as a stand-alone bill H.R. 2463 in the 113th Congress.

Photo Credit: Top photo shows Mainville Sportsman Club (PA) and Union Co. Sportmen’s Club (PA), both sites of IBS Matches.

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November 1st, 2013

Bill to Promote Shooting Ranges Advances in Congress

Congress buildingMany shooting ranges have been closed over the past few years, victims of “urban sprawl” and concerns over noise and land use. Now there’s a bill in Congress that will help fund new ranges around the country. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week voted to advance the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (HR 2463). This legislation is sponsored by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) member Duncan Hunter (Rep., CA) and Caucus Vice-Chair Tim Walz (Dem., MN), along with a bipartisan coalition of 14 other House Members. This bill would allow states to use the excise taxes already collected on sporting equipment and ammunition to develop and maintain much-needed public shooting ranges. Having already received the approval of the Natural Resources Committee, passage of HR 2463 through the Judiciary committee was the final step necessary to send the bill to the House Floor.

If passed by the House, HR 2463 would have to be approved by the U.S. Senate, and then signed by the President before it could become law. Based on recent experience, a Presidential veto doesn’t seem likely. Through December 2012, President Obama has vetoed just two of 621 bills that crossed his desk. That’s the fewest number of vetos since Millard Fillmore held office in the early 1850s.

Summary: H.R.2463 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act – Amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to: (1) authorize a state to pay up to 90% of the costs of acquiring land for, expanding, or constructing a public target range; (2) authorize a state to elect to allocate 10% of a specified amount apportioned to it from the federal aid to wildlife restoration fund for such costs; (3) limit the federal share of such costs under such Act to 90%; and (4) require amounts provided for such costs under such Act to remain available for expenditure and obligation for five fiscal years.

Shields the United States from any civil action or claim for money damages for injury to or loss of property, personal injury, or death caused by an activity occurring at a public target range that is funded by the federal government pursuant to such Act or located on federal land, except to the extent provided under the Federal Tort Claims Act with respect to the exercise or performance of a discretionary function.

Urges the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to cooperate with state and local authorities and other entities to carry out waste removal and other activities on any federal land used as a public target range to encourage its continued use for target practice or marksmanship training.

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May 25th, 2010

Proposed Law Allocates Gun Excise Taxes for Range Acquisition

U.S. Congress SealA bill in Congress would allow state agencies to use their shares of Federal Excise/Sales Tax Revenues (derived from gun, ammo, and archery sales) to acquire land for new shooting ranges. The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R.3781) would give state agencies more flexibility in spending Pittman-Robertson dollars for the development of new sites for shooting ranges. H.R.3781 was introduced in October 2009 by Rep. Betsey Markey of Colorado. The bill, supported by NSSF, would give states the ability to use federal excise/sales tax revenues to purchase land for new ranges for the first time and increase federal dollars for range construction and improvement.

We think this is a great idea. Please tell your members of Congress to support H.R.3781. In many parts of the country privately-owned ranges are closing (due to a variety of factors including urban sprawl and restrictive land-use laws). Pittman-Robertson revenues are also at an all-time high, as is the general public interest in target shooting. It makes good sense to allow a share of Federal gun-related tax revenues be set aside for range acquisition. H.R. 3781 would amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to:

  • authorize a state to pay up to 90% of the costs of acquiring land for expanding, or constructing, a public target range;
  • authorize a state to elect to allocate 10% of a specified amount apportioned to it from the federal aid to wildlife restoration fund for such costs;
  • limit the federal share of such costs under such Act to 90%;
  • require amounts provided for such costs under such Act to remain available for expenditure and obligation for five fiscal years.

About the Pittman-Robertson Act
The Pittman-Robertson Act imposes an 11% excise tax on sporting firearms and ammunition, a 10% tax on handguns, and 11% sales tax on archery equipment. Fully half of the monies collected via the handgun and archery equipment taxes goes to state hunter education and safety programs.

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September 17th, 2009

National Hunting and Fishing Day Set for September 26

National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place next week, on Saturday, Sept. 26th. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. An estimated four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find an NHF Day event near you, click the link below.

CLICK HERE for a State-by-State list of Hunting & Fishing Day Events

Outdoor Sportsmen Support Conservation
Hunting and angling together are an economic force worth $76 billion a year, and it is estimated that 1.6 million jobs depend on hunters and anglers. Moreover, conservation programs depend on hunters and fishermen for funding. Through licence fees and excise taxes, hunters and anglers contribute $1.75 billion per year, for wildlife, fisheries and habitat programs.

National Hunt Fish Day

History of National Hunting and Fishing Day
In 1972, Congress unanimously passed legislation authorizing National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, “I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.” Currently, the national celebration is coordinated by the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day, Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Missouri. Sponsors for 2008 include NSSF, Bass Pro Shops, The Sportsman Channel, National Wild Turkey Federation, Realtree, Cabela’s, Woolrich, GunBroker.com, Outdoor Channel, Safari Club International, Hunting Heritage Trust, Smith & Wesson, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life.

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June 10th, 2008

Gun and Ammo Sales Rise in 2007

The gun industry is growing, at least based on the increased Federal excise taxe collections. Sales of ammunition and firearms rose 10.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, led by a 23.6 percent increase in ammunition sales, a 5.9 percent rise in handgun sales and a 4 percent increase in long gun sales. These figures are based on excise taxes collected on wholesale receipts–so the rises can represent higher prices for guns and ammo, or higher quantities sold, or both. The statistics are taken from the latest Pittman-Robertson federal excise tax collection report.

Excise taxes are calculated as a percentage of wholesale receipts, paid quarterly by firearm and ammunition manufacturers, and earmarked for state wildlife conservation and habitat restoration programs. During the quarter, $74.8 million was collected, compared to $67.4 million in the same period in 2006. From October through December, $16.2 million was collected for pistols and revolvers, $31.4 million for long guns and $27.1 million for ammunition. The latest tax collections suggest overall sales of $694.4 million, not including retail markup or final retail sales. For the entire calendar year, a total of $303.2 million was collected in excise taxes, up 21.2 percent from the $250.1 million in 2006.

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