Finding a gun range isn’t always easy. And even if one is near, it can often be well used and run down. This is why President Trump signing the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act into law is such a big deal to shooters. Also known as the range bill, state game agencies now have more opportunities for funding to improve or build new gun ranges on public land.
“We deeply appreciate President Trump’s swift enactment of this legislation that will give state fish and game agencies greater flexibility to build new recreational shooting ranges and expand and improve existing ranges,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This administration understands the value and investment the firearms and ammunition industry makes to safe recreational shooting and to sustained conservation to benefit wildlife and habitat restoration across the United States. Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and pattern shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport.”
The NSSF has been working on this bill for more than a decade. In fact, it has been introduced in 29 specific bills and 15 separate legislative packages since the 110th Congress. That session ran from 2007 to 2009. However, despite bipartisan support, it couldn’t seem to make it all the way through the process.
Benefits of the Range Bill
This bill allows state agencies to use Pittman-Robertson Funds to construct new public ranges. It also allows these funds to be used to improve existing public ranges. Agencies could use these funds before, but had to come up with 25 percent of the costs. Now, states can access those funds with a 10 percent match. Also, states have five fiscal years to acquire land for range construction or expansion projects.
Pittman-Robertson funds come from an excise tax paid by firearms and ammunition manufacturers. Since 1937, the fund has generated more than $12.5 billion for wildlife conservation and safety education programs in all 50 states.
Finding a range is a major concern of many shooters. This law makes it easier for state to create and improve ranges for better access for shooters. This, in turn, generates more contributions to Pittman-Robertson funds and conservation programs.