A bipartisan bill passed Monday that encourages states to develop additional shooting ranges by making federal excise tax funds available to fish and wildlife agencies.
Known as the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, the bill gives states up to 90 percent of the cost of building or maintaining public shooting ranges. The bill passed through the House and Senate and is headed to the president’s desk.
The money comes from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, according to The Western Journal, which generates funds through an excise tax on guns, ammunition, bows, and archery equipment. Funds distributed to states are spent on a variety of conversation and outdoors initiatives.
“As this nation becomes more urbanized, the ability of having people a safe place where they can go and they can practice — target practicing, it becomes even more significant that these ranges have to be maintained, they have to be improved in some particular way,” said Republican Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, the bill’s co-sponsor, when arguing for the measure on the House floor.
Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), applauded the bill’s passage.
“Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and, for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport,” he said in a statement published on the group’s website.
The bill’s passage provided a rare bipartisan moment on Capitol Hill, with several Democrats joining Republicans in each house as co-sponsors.
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