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Capito, Bennett reintroduce bipartisan target practice, marksmanship training bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) reintroduced the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act.

Opportunities for Americans to safely engage in recreational and competitive shooting have declined on both public and private lands in recent years. In response, this legislation would encourage states to develop additional shooting ranges by making more funds available to state fish and wildlife agencies through the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal aid program financed by excise taxes on firearms.

“West Virginians have a proud hunting heritage and a strong interest in shooting sports, both for recreational and economic purposes,”  Capito said. “This bipartisan legislation—which I’m glad to reintroduce today—provides a responsible way to improve cooperation at the federal, state, and local levels to create and maintain shooting ranges while also encouraging their continued use.”

“Hunting and target shooting are an important part of Colorado’s Western heritage and outdoor economy,” Bennet added. “Providing states more flexibility to develop shooting ranges gives sportsmen new opportunities for target practice and boosts the outdoor recreation economy.”

Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, funds currently can only be used to pay 75 percent of the cost of building or operating a public target range, and states only have two years to access allotted funds. The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act would allow 90 percent of those funds to be used for public target ranges, and states would be able to retain funding for five years. States can use these funds to pay for acquiring land, expanding existing facilities, and constructing new public facilities.

The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act is co-sponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). It is endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the National Rifle Association.

“This is crucial legislation that would provide state fish and game agencies more flexibility to use Pittman-Robertson excise taxes dollars raised from the sale of firearms and ammunition to enhance existing public shooting ranges and to build new ones to meet the growing need for additional places for target shooters to participate in their sport,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “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. NSSF applauds both Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Michael Bennet for their leadership and perseverance in this critical need.”

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