Panel Reviews Legislation to Increase Access to Outdoor Sporting Opportunities on Federal Lands


Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3668, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017” or “SHARE Act.” The bill increases opportunities for hunters, anglers and shooters, eliminates red tape impeding outdoor sporting activities, and protects Second Amendment Rights.

“Outdoor sporting activities, including hunting, fishing and recreational shooting, are deeply engrained in the fabric of America’s culture and heritage. Values of personal responsibility, resource management and conservation and outdoor recreation instilled by these activities are passed down from generation to generation and play a significant role in the lives of millions of Americans,” Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said.

Outdoor sporting activities are a major economic driver in the United States. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, sportsmen and women annually generate 7.6 million American jobs, $65.3 billion in federal tax revenues and a combined $59.2 billion in state and local taxes.

Despite the significant economic benefits of outdoor sporting activities, unnecessary bureaucratic roadblocks inhibit access to these activities on federal lands.

“Among the most commonly cited reasons by Americans who have given up on these recreational pursuits on public lands are access issues,”McClintock argued.

The “SHARE Act” includes multiple provisions that improve access and opportunities for outdoor recreation and sporting activities on federal lands, including requiring the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to be “open until closed” for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.

“As a nation, we must encourage all Americans, and in particular young people and urban residents, to increase their participation in wildlife-oriented recreation, including hunting, shooting and fishing,”Anna Seidman, Director of Government Affairs for the Safari Club International Seidman, said. “[The ‘SHARE Act’] removes statutory and regulatory obstacles that inhibit federal agencies from providing access and opportunities [for sportsmen and women].”

The “SHARE Act” also increases safety and hearing protection for sportsmen and women by removing onerous requirements associated with purchasing hearing protection equipment.

“No reason exists why one should be forced to damage one’s hearing to hunt, target shoot, or exercise one’s second Amendment rights,” Stephen Halbrook, an attorney who specializes in Second Amendment issues,stated.

The bill prevents firearm mufflers from being regulated under the 1934 National Firearms Act, which requires a $200 transfer tax fee. It also ends the requirement that law-abiding gun owners go through a secondary, outmoded federal background check and continues to treat mufflers as firearms subject to extensive regulations under the Gun Control Act.

“[The ‘SHARE Act’] would protect law enforcement interests while at the same time allowing law-abiding gun owners to protect their health better and to reduce noise pollution,” Halbrook added.

Christopher Sharon, CEO of Hope for the Warriors, added that firearm mufflers are vital for veterans’ enjoyment of the outdoors, pointing to the prevalence of hearing loss for those who have trained and served in our military.

“Preserving what remains of our heroes’ hearing, while still giving them the opportunities to live a full life is our goal,” Sharon stated.

Click here to view full witness testimony.

Click here for more information on the “SHARE Act.”

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