In the months leading up to elections, politicians don their flannel shirts and post photos of themselves with shotguns broken over their shoulders in an effort to convince us to vote for them because they share our values and interests. But in recent years, and despite what many pundits would say was a “sportsmen-friendly Congressional make-up,” Congressional leaders have shown time and time again that they will not prioritize the needs of American sportsmen.
Christmas 2018 has come and gone, and once again Congress has turned their back on one of the most important constituencies in the country. This is now the fourth consecutive Congress that has failed to pass a “Sportsmen’s Package,” which includes the top priorities of American hunters, anglers, trappers and target shooters.
“This year-end let down has become all too familiar to sportsmen,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance president and CEO. “Year after year, the most important issues facing sportsmen and women are left unaddressed by our leaders on Capitol Hill as they wrap up another Congressional term.”
The next Congress should make it a priority to advance bills with bipartisan support to increase hunter participation, public hunting access, and wildlife conservation. Some of the provisions that deserve immediate attention include:
“Open Until Closed” would require lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service be open for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting, unless specifically closed for cause. This action would help to prevent lawsuits brought by anti-hunting groups attempting to use the courts to stop hunting opportunities on public land.
The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act would improve public shooting range access, which is a direct benefit to hunters and recreational shooters.
The Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act will improve recruitment of new hunters by allowing states to use existing excise tax funds to help promote hunting and recreational shooting.
These provisions, along with others that support and help us to keep and protect our heritage, can no longer be ignored. It’s time for Congressional leaders to get serious about hunting and conservation issues, and to pass these critical bills.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.