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Udall, Bipartisan Coalition Introduce Plan to Create Safe Public Shooting Ranges, Promote Firearm Safety

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Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) introduced a bipartisan and deficit-neutral bill today 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 would allow states to use the excise taxes already collected on sporting equipment and ammunition to create and maintain public 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. By supporting public shooting ranges, we can bring more Americans into the sport and promote responsible gun use and hunting for future generations," Udall said. "This bill acknowledges not only the need for safe places for hunters and sportsmen to responsibly practice their sport, but also the jobs and economic growth supported by sport shooters in Colorado and throughout the West. Hunting and outdoor sports generate more than $3 billion each year in Colorado and support 34,000 jobs. This bill is a common-sense way to keep our economy strong and support the West's storied tradition of responsible gun ownership."

"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."

"Public shooting ranges serve the interests of families and communities, providing a safe place for target practice and instruction while also sustaining jobs and supporting local businesses," Hunter said. "With fewer ranges today, providing greater flexibility to states for the purpose of maintaining public shooting venues will go a long way to restoring recreational opportunities and promoting gun safety."

"Sportsmen and women contribute over $3 billion annually to Minnesota's economy and support over 40,000 jobs," Walz said. "By supporting efforts to promote safe firearm practices, we're supporting Minnesota's rich outdoor and hunting heritage and the economy at the same time."

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.

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