Proposed Range Act Could Bring Access Close to you!

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Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT) introduced the timely Range Access Act to “require the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that each qualifying National Forest and BLM district” designate—at a minimum—one public recreational shooting range without charging a user fee. 

Congressman Blake Moore has introduced the Range Access Act to promote and expand access to safe recreational target shooting practice. This bill would require the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to ensure that each qualifying 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 is an important step in expanding access to recreational shooting practice. Americans from coast to coast love spending time in the outdoors, and expanding our ability to recreate on and enjoy our public lands is one of my core focuses in Congress,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “The Range Access Act would establish free shooting ranges for sportsmen to safely participate in target practice while supporting our wildlife conservation and local economies.”

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation commends Congressman Blake Moore for introducing this vitally important legislation to increase access for the public to practice marksmanship at safe recreational shooting ranges,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF 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 crucial to ensuring safe public recreational shooting. Congressman Moore’s bill would also benefit conservation by reducing pollution at non-dedicated ranges on federal public lands while also generating additional Pittman-Robertson revenue.” 

“The Mule Deer Foundation expresses our gratitude to Congressman Blake Moore for today’s introduction of the Range Access Act,” said Joel Pedersen, President and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation. “This vital legislation will help with the recruitment and retention of hunters and recreational shooters while also ensuring that sportsmen and women have safe places to practice shooting in preparation for hunting seasons. This will promote ethical and accurate shooting in the field. Additionally, by creating additional places to shoot, this legislation will increase the revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson excise taxes which hunters self-imposed to fund wildlife conservation and management and other beneficial activities at the state level.” 

“The Range Access Act will build on years of coordination among Federal agencies and sportsmen conservationists to promote safe opportunities for hunters to learn and practice shooting skills,” said Tony Schoonen, CEO of Boone and Crockett Club. “We thank Congressman Blake Moore for advancing this work, which will also aid the recruitment, reactivation, and retention of hunters and recreational shooters.”  

“CSF extends our appreciation to Rep. Blake Moore for leading the Range Access Act. As recreational shooting continues to grow in popularity, the Range Access Act is an important bill to bolster opportunities for sportsmen and women to safely practice and exercise our firearms heritage,” said Jeff Crane, President and CEO of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Recreational shooters provide the bulk of funding to the Pittman-Robertson Act, the lifeblood of state fish and wildlife agencies for hunting and shooting projects, and this legislation recognizes the contributions of target shooters by increasing access opportunities for them to enjoy this time-honored tradition.”

BACKGROUND:

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, and Ducks Unlimited. 

You can read the full bill text here.