Today, Mark Udall re-introduced legislation to help states construct and maintain safe public shooting ranges. The bill, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, would help ensure that there are enough accessible ranges where hunters and marksmen can safely practice recreational shooting.
Under current law – the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act – an excise tax is collected on sporting equipment and ammunition, which states can use for activities such as wildlife restoration and hunter education programs. However, it has limited effectiveness in establishing and maintaining shooting ranges, which are declining in number. Udall’s Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, co-sponsored by Senators Jim Risch, Michael Bennet and Jon Tester, would amend the law to give states more flexibility to use existing funds to create and maintain shooting ranges.
“The number of places in our communities and on public lands where Colorado sportsmen and women can safely shoot and target practice has steadily dwindled,” Udall said. “This bill would give states more flexibility to use federal dollars – that have already been allocated to them – to create safe, new public places to shoot. It would be a triple win for sporting and conservation communities: states can create higher quality and safer shooting ranges, more Coloradans can take up the sport, and it would generate more money for future conservation and hunter education efforts.”
Udall’s bill would:
• Increase the amount of money states can use from their allotted Pittman-Robertson funds to 90 percent, from 75 percent, to improve or construct a public target range. This would reduce the amount of other funds states would have to raise for shooting ranges to 10 percent, from 25 percent.
• Allow the Pittman-Robertson funds allotted to a state to remain available and accrue for five fiscal years for use in acquiring land for, expanding, or constructing a public target range on federal or non-federal land. Under current law, states must use these funds within one year.
• Limit the legal liability exposure to the federal land management agencies regarding the management and use of federal land for target practice or marksmanship training.
• Encourage the federal land management agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain target ranges on federal land so as to encourage their continued use.