Senate Bipartisan Reintroduction on Sportsmen’s Act of 2017 — NSSF

By Dave Dolbee published on in Fishing, General, Hunting, Legal

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan reintroduction of S.733, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2017 and the quick action to favorably report it out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Similar legislation was agreed upon by both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate late last year, but stalled in a joint House-Senate conference committee. The bipartisan legislative package expands and enhances sportsmen’s access by making federal lands throughout the nation “open unless closed” for fishing, hunting, recreational shooting, and other outdoor activities.

The Sportsmen’s Act Amendment makes public lands accessible to hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters.

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2017 would make all public lands accessible to hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters unless specifically closed.

The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), both members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, along with CSC leaders Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

“The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act will help ensure that our nation’s hunting, fishing and shooting traditions are preserved, protected and promoted,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “This legislation addresses many priorities for American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters and its reintroduction in the Senate and immediate committee hearing is representative of the commitment these senators and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus shares for the sportsmen’s community and for America.”

The proposed legislation package would:

  • Reauthorize federal lands are “open unless closed” policy for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting;
  • Allow transport of bows and crossbows on National Parks lands;
  • Exempt film crews of three or less from commercial filming fees and additional permits;
  • Implement the “Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures” (HUNT) Act, improving access to federal lands for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation;
  • Increase states’ authority to allocate Pittman-Robertson funds for construction and maintenance of public recreational shooting ranges;
  • Permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting issues.

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted without reason or transparency,” said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski. “Our bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act will ensure that our federal lands are open unless closed, provide new opportunities for more Americans to enjoy those lands, and require federal agencies to expand and enhance access in accordance with their missions. The bill we introduced is an important first step as we seek to have these priorities signed into law.”

For some time, some federal lands have been open to other sports and uses, but not to sporting purposes of hunting and fishing. Do you support S.733 – the Sportsmen’s Act of 2017? Share why or why not in the comment section.

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Comments (3)

  • G-Man

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    I particularly like the change for increasing federal funding to the States for the construction and maintenance of public recreational shooting ranges.

    I have family in Arizona and plan to retire there. And though Arizona is bar-none THE most gun-friendly State in the Union (hence my move there), lately they’ve had heavy liberal pushback trying to ban shooting on public lands without alternatives. This new law should stuff those liberal turkeys quite nicely.

    I’ll close by adding that – for a fact had Hillary been allowed to ascend upon her metaphoric throne we’d never see any of these great revisions to the gun laws. May God bless our real President in his efforts for true and meaningful leadership, his administration, and all those that supported him into office.

    Reply

    • Mike in Flag

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      As much as I enjoy a day at an “established” range, where one pays admission, I like the freedom of shooting out in the woods, or the desert. When ranges are established our anti gunners have a pretty good argument to want shooting restricted to those ranges and the rest of our public lands closed to shooting. Especially note the incredibly STUPID act of leaving shooting areas looking like garbage dumps all over the countryside.

      I am reluctant to support the establishing of ranges as I’ve watched “established” ranges closed because of noise and nonexistent “danger” by homeowners’ groups. Even considering that they bought those homes KNOWING the shooting ranges were there and that very fact affecting the low purchase prices they paid, authorities yield to these groups and then there is no local range, period.

      Our freedom is hanging on by a thread, and we shooters are as much to blame as the antis.

      Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Mike in Flag,

      Very plausible notion, but unfortunately your theory has actually backfired in reality and worked just the opposite (of sorts).

      Shooters in Southern Arizona used to regularly enjoy the freedom of shooting in their open woodlands and desert areas on federal owned land. That is until a bunch of anti-gun liberals complained and won their demands to have these areas temporarily closed under the pretense of a clean-up and pending the completion of a so-called impact assessment study.

      Now if anyone gets caught shooting out there they get hit with serious federal fines or imprisonment. And so much for the temporary closure, given that was back in 2013. Add to this – quite recently the liberals forced this supposed temporary land closure to be extended through something like 2019. And keep in mind all this was able to happen in THE most gun-friendly state in the Nation.

      The result: Shooters have since thwarted the efforts of these liberal anti-gunners by opening and/or refurbishing about 5 new and very nice public shooting ranges. And thus I stand behind my original comment as to the need for increased federal funding to not only help maintain and build more ranges, but also as a proverbial slap in the face of these anti-gun liberals.

      Reply

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