Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), along with Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.), introduced a bipartisan and deficit-neutral bill this week to help states create and maintain public shooting ranges for hunters and sportsmen to responsibly practice their sport and promote firearm safety. The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (S. 1212) would allow states to use the excise taxes already collected on sporting equipment and ammunition to create and maintain public shooting ranges.
"This legislation addresses the pressing need for safe and accessible outdoor public shooting ranges," Risch said. "The bill gives states more flexibility in how they use their allotment of tax receipts provided by sportsmen and recreational shooters to meet their local needs."
In 2011, spending by sportsmen and women in Idaho generated $92 million in state and local taxes as a result of the $1.02 billion that was spent on hunting and fishing in the state.
Key provisions of the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act would:
- Increase the amount of money states can contribute from their allotted Pittman-Robertson funds to 90 percent of the cost to improve or construct a public target range from the current limit of 75 percent. This would reduce local and state matching requirements from 25 percent to 10 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. Under current law, states must use these funds within one year; and,
- 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.
The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act nearly passed Congress last year as part of a broader package of sportsmen bills. The package failed during the lame-duck session of Congress after a minority of senators protested unrelated provisions relating to duck stamps.