After several preliminary votes on the Sportsmen’s Act (S.3525), the U.S. Senate has decided it will take a final vote on the measure after Thanksgiving break.
Thus far, the bipartisan bill, which contains all sorts of goodies for gun owners, hunters, shooters and sportsmen (see priority provisions below), has garnered a ton of support from lawmakers.
On Thursday, the Senate advanced the Sportsmen’s Act by an 84-12 preliminary vote, a sign of the bill’s overwhelming popularity.
“Sportsmen and -women across Montana and the nation are calling for responsible decisions that strengthen our outdoor economy and secure our outdoor heritage for future generations,” Sen. John Tester, the bill’s lead sponsor, told KFBB News.
“This measure does just that,” Tester continued, “taking good ideas from Republicans and Democrats to protect our hunting and fishing traditions and safeguard our most treasured places. I will keep pushing to get it across the finish line.”
Though, the road to ratification is always a tricky one, which is why the National Shooting Sports Foundation along with the National Rifle Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance among others, is still urging the public to contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to approve bill.
The number to the U.S. Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121 or you can find more detailed contact information here.
Of the issues that are left to be ironed out include a provision concerning the transportation and importation of polar bear carcasses being stored in Canada due to the ban on trophy imports (as its written now, the act will remove the ban) and when, if passed, the Sportsmen Act will go into effect.
However, it’s expected that these issues will be resolved rather quickly and the Sportsmen Act will take effect in the very near future.
“This is a bill I think that once we get it passed, once we get it to the senate, to the house, to the president’s desk, sportsmen will start seeing the advantage of it almost immediately,” said Sen. Tester.
Priority Provisions in the Sportsmen’s Act:
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act — Specifically excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act, preventing unnecessary regulations that could devastate hunting, shooting, conservation funding and the firearm and ammunition industries.
Making Public Lands Public — Requires that the 1.5 percent of annual Land and Water Conservation Fund funding is made available to secure public access to federal public land for hunting, fishing, and other recreational purposes.
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act — Makes Pittman-Robertson funds available to states for a longer period of time for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges. The bill encourages federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges and limits liability for these agencies.