Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act Introduced in Senate

Should there be more public shooting ranges? Some Senators in Congress seem to think so. The Target and Markmanship Training Support Act of 2017 seeks to help provide additional funding for the upkeep and expansion of public shooting ranges. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released the following press release last week, praising the bipartisan support the bill has seen so far.

NSSF Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017 in the Senate

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised the bipartisan introduction of S.593, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017 in the U.S. Senate, sponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

“This legislation 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.”

The senators cited the economic benefits of sustaining the shooting sports, as well as continued access to public range facilities for citizens to practice marksmanship skills. Money paid in excise taxes is what sustains construction and maintenance of public ranges. Increased access and improved quality ranges make it easier for marksmen to participate in the sport. This legislation mirrors what was introduced in previous Congressional sessions, but was never put forward for presidential approval.

“As a West Virginian, I know how important shooting sports are to our economy, and to our proud hunting heritage,” said Senator Capito. “I am glad to join with my colleagues to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation that responsibly encourages improved federal, state and local cooperation to create and maintain shooting ranges, and encourage their continued use.”

“Hunting and target shooting are an important part of Colorado’s Western heritage and outdoor economy,” Senator Bennet said. “This bill will provide states greater flexibility to develop shooting ranges, and provide sportsmen with more opportunities for target practice and marksmanship training.”

“Shooting sports are a huge economic driver in Arkansas and I am pleased to support a common-sense solution that makes it easier for states to encourage these traditions. Our bill will improve access to ranges for the thousands of Arkansans who enjoy this type of recreation without increasing federal spending,” Senator Boozman said.

“There are countless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in North Dakota, but a growing population has put extra pressure on our public shooting ranges. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to expand outdoor recreation for our sportsmen and women,” said Senator Heitkamp. “Working together at the federal, state, and local levels, we can guarantee that facilities where folks enjoy marksmanship and target practice thrive for generations to come — and this bill would help accomplish that goal.”

Since 1937 almost $11 billion has been raised for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education course and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. The legislation would provide states greater flexibility on their ability to use Pittman-Robertson excise tax funds by increasing the cap of federal funds accrued for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent matching funds, instead of the current 25 percent. It would also excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction. The legislation would also limit frivolous lawsuits that might result from the use of federal land for target practice and encourage federal agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities for maintenance of ranges on federal lands.

Target shooters are largely responsible for the funds derived through excise taxes from the sale of firearms and ammunition products. That money is directly responsible for habitat conservation, recreational shooting and wildlife management, making gun owners, hunters and manufacturers largest financial supporters of wildlife conservation throughout the United States.

Passage of S.593, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017, would ensure that the Pittman-Robertson Act continues to maximize wildlife conservation.

The Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017 was introduced in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support as H.R.788 by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) with 23 co-sponsors.

About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit

Do you think the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act has a chance of passing? Let us know your opinions in the comments!

7 Comments On This Article

  1. I really hope it does, it is very limited in N.Y. Mostly because of the liberal Goveror & his safe act bill. Hope it makes it.

    • Amen, brother. Take the taxes off and do not subsidize another business. It will hurt the for-profit ranges. Every authorized and competent citizen should be a good marksman and know the basics of shooting skills. Your life, and country, could depend on it someday.

  2. concerned gun owner

    I am all for protecting every ones constitutional rights. what I don’t like is the Federal Government getting involved. I see more taxes and more federal control. Another foot in the door thing. I see registering and deeding a license to use the ranges. Admission fees. Increased taxes on all levels. And big brothers video cameras everywhere. Facial reconnaissance.

  3. With our new President! I sure do He’ll sign it in no time! would like to suggest one more training item. The home defense and personal defense training classes. I believe this is a necessary course for the
    non hunter and will help reduce both home invasion & personal attacks.
    Giving the bad guy’s something to really think about !