Range Access Act good news for Second Amendment

Range Access Act good news for Second Amendment
AP Photo/Wilson Ring

In order for the Second Amendment to prosper, we need people willing to defend it.

That means we generally need shooters. It’s rare that a strident Second Amendment defender isn’t someone who shoots, after all. It’s that feeling of a day on the range that reminds us just how important our right to keep and bear arms really is.

Well, either that or being the victim of a violent crime and not being able to do anything about it, but the first one is at least a more pleasant way of deciding to defend our gun rights.

But in some places, shooting is tricky. You need access to a range, and those aren’t as common in some places as it is in others.

Yet as Gabriella Hoffman notes at our sister site, Townhall, the Range Access Act can help with that.

As more Americans purchase firearms, opportunities to access shooting ranges on public lands should be expanded. 

A newly-introduced House of Representatives bill aims to bolster public range access for new and returning recreational shooters. 

Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT) introduced the timely Range Access Act to “require the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that each qualifying National Forest and BLM district” designate—at a minimum—one public recreational shooting range without charging a user fee. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which manages the USFS, states some ranges located on National Forest lands impose usage fees. 

“This legislation is an important step in expanding access to recreational shooting practice. Americans from coast to coast love spending time in the outdoors, and expanding our ability to recreate on and enjoy our public lands is one of my core focuses in Congress,” said Congressman Blake Moore in a press release. “The Range Access Act would establish free shooting ranges for sportsmen to safely participate in target practice while supporting our wildlife conservation and local economies.”

The bill has the backing of the NSSF.

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation commends Congressman Blake Moore for introducing this vitally important legislation to increase access for the public to practice marksmanship at safe recreational shooting ranges,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This legislation, which would require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to have at least one qualifying recreational shooting range in each National Forest and BLM district, is crucial to ensuring safe public recreational shooting. Congressman Moore’s bill would also benefit conservation by reducing pollution at non-dedicated ranges on federal public lands while also generating additional Pittman-Robertson revenue.” 

“The Range Access Act will build on years of coordination among Federal agencies and sportsmen conservationists to promote safe opportunities for hunters to learn and practice shooting skills,” added Boone and Crockett Club CEO Tony Schoonen. “We thank Congressman Blake Moore for advancing this work, which will also aid the recruitment, reactivation, and retention of hunters and recreational shooters.” 

While Democrats routinely take anti-gun stances, this one is going to be tough for them to oppose. After all, one anti-gun talking point is that regular citizens aren’t sufficiently trained to carry a firearm. If that’s their position, how can they oppose a law that will help facilitate that very training?

Then again, it’s not like anti-gun lawmakers are known for their ideological consistency.

Still, my sincere hope is that this bill passes.

Anything that will facilitate more range days for more people is a huge win.