Today, Congressmen Blake Moore (R-UT) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) reintroduced the bipartisan Range Access Act for the 118th Congress to promote and expand access to safe recreational target shooting practice. This bill would require the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that each National Forest and BLM district has at least one designated public recreational shooting range that does not require a user fee, thus promoting wildlife conservation efforts and supporting local economies.
By making it easier to recreate, this bill will enhance Pittman-Robertson funding that flows toward state wildlife and fish management agencies. Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, an excise tax is levied on the purchase of ammunition, firearms, and archery equipment that funds critically important conservation programs. Since being enacted in 1937, more than $15 billion has been transferred to states.
“This legislation ensures more responsible access to recreational shooting opportunities for sportsmen and women throughout the country. Americans love spending time outdoors, and expanding our ability to recreate on and enjoy our public lands is critical,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “Not only will this bill make it easier to recreate, but it will also enhance funding for wildlife conservation programs and support local economies. I am thrilled to reintroduce this legislation for the 118th Congress with my good friend Congressman Panetta. We will work hard to push this through the legislative process.”
“Sportsmen and women too often lack dedicated, accessible shooting ranges on our public lands where they can safely enjoy the great outdoors,” said Congressman Jimmy Panetta. “As the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I’m proud to introduce this legislation alongside Rep. Moore to ensure our National Forests and BLM District have at least one designated recreational shooting range, free of charge. Doing so will promote safety, recreational opportunities, and the continued conservation of our environment.”
“Delta Waterfowl is pleased to support the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022,” said John Devney, Chief Policy Officer, Delta Waterfowl. “When enacted, this important legislation will have numerous direct and indirect benefits to waterfowl and waterfowl hunters.”
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation once again commends Congressman Blake Moore for his leadership in introducing the Range Access Act. This critically important legislation will help to increase access opportunities for the public to practice marksmanship at safe recreational shooting ranges at a time when there are millions of new gun owners,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This legislation, that would require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to have at least one qualifying recreational shooting range in each National Forest and BLM district, is vital to ensuring safe public recreational shooting venues are available and welcoming. Congressman Moore’s bill would also benefit conservation and wildlife management by reducing pollution at non-dedicated ranges on federal public lands while also generating additional Pittman-Robertson revenue.”
“Safe and accessible shooting ranges help to increase hunter efficacy and they support the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of sportsmen and sportswomen,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “TRCP appreciates Congressman Blake Moore’s leadership on the Range Access Act.”
Background checks for firearm sales hit a record 21 million in 2022, and an additional 18.5 million background checks were processed in 2021. 2022 background checks are expected to near these record numbers. It is imperative that these first-time gun owners have free access to shooting ranges to practice their skills for safer recreational use. This bill also would incentivize more funding to the Pittman-Robertson excise tax, which greatly supports wildlife conservation efforts.
This bill enjoys support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Boone and Crockett Club, Delta Waterfowl, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wild Sheep Foundation, Safari Club International, the Sportsmen’s Alliance, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Kalkomey, and Ducks Unlimited.
You can read the full bill text here.