Providing Safe Shooting Ranges for Colorado's Sporting Community
On Saturday, I introduced the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. The bill would provide funding flexibility to the states to help construct and maintain needed shooting ranges where people can sharpen their marksmanship and enjoy recreational shooting.
For a variety of reasons, the number of places where people can safely engage in recreational shooting has steadily dwindled. In an effort to meet the demands of Colorado's sportsmen and women as well as gun owners, my bill will assist in the development and maintenance of new and existing shooting ranges.
As the Denver Post notes:
Public target ranges are in short supply across the West, and informal ranges that pop up in their stead can create safety hazards.
U.S. Forest Service officials closed part of Lefthand Canyon near Boulder last year after several agency employees experienced near misses from an ad hoc shooting range near a road.
My bill would give the states the power to allocate a greater proportion of the federal Pittman-Robertson funds for recreational shooting and target practice by providing flexibility in funding to the states to help construct and maintain safe public shooting ranges, and by limiting the liability exposure to federal land agencies regarding the use of their land for target practice or marksmanship training.
I believe that hunting and recreational shooting are legitimate activities-activities that also are appropriate where not prohibited on our public lands. This bill is designed to maintain these activities in a safe and convenient manner. It is my hope that the public lands agencies continue to work with the states, sportsmen and hunters, the recreational shooting interests, nearby communities, and others so that these opportunities are safe and available.
I would like to thank the following groups who have expressed support for this legislation: the National Rifle Association, the National Governing Body for the Olympic Shooting Sports, the Colorado Firearms Coalition, the Colorado Wildlife Federation, the Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society.