Bennet, Heitkamp Introduce Bill to Increase Target Practice Opportunities

Bill, Championed in Past by Mark Udall, Gives States More Flexibility to Develop Shooting Ranges

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a bill to help increase opportunities for hunters and recreational shooters to practice their skills. The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act would allow states to use more of their federal Pittman-Robertson wildlife funding for the development of shooting ranges.

"Hunting and outdoor recreation, including target shooting, are an important part of Colorado's Western heritage," Bennet said. "This bill, which was first championed in Congress by Senator Mark Udall, will give our sportsmen more opportunities for target practice and marksmanship training in safe, controlled environments."

"Across North Dakota and throughout the country, our culture is rich with sportsmen who have a deep respect for our land and our public resources," said Heitkamp. "That's why I'm working today on legislation that would promote this way of life by expanding access to our public lands for hunters and marksmen so they have greater and more convenient opportunities to practice their craft. I'll keep working with my colleagues to make sure our sporting culture, which is deeply rooted in our communities and our local economies in North Dakota, can thrive in generations to come."

Currently, states must match 25 percent of their allotted Pittman-Robertson Act funds for the expansion or construction of public target ranges on federal or non-federal land. Under this bill, the match would be reduced to 10 percent, making it more feasible for states to move forward with shooting range projects. States would also be able to accrue their allotted Pittman-Robertson funds for up to five fiscal years for shooting range projects.

"Access to public shooting ranges is an increasing barrier for sportsmen and recreational shooters alike," said Tim Brass of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. "By providing the state more flexibility and resources for shooting facilities, this legislation will provide safe and accessible shooting areas, while ensuring that when hunters go afield, they're equipped with the skills needed to take a clean and ethical shot."

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