SHARE Act Passes The House Of Representatives

The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 aka SHARE Act, an omnibus bill, passed the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon. The final vote was 242 Aye to 161 Nay with 30 not voting. Included in the Ayes were 230 Republicans and 12 Democrats while the opponents consisted of 4 Republicans and 157 Democrats.

Why should we care if this bill passed and why should we fight for it in the Senate? If you read the summary below you will see stuff dealing with polar bears, African elephants, and baited fields. Unless you are a wealthy hunter, you might say, “Meh, who cares.”

However, you will also see increased funding for public shooting ranges, an exemption of lead bullets from the Toxic Substances Control Act, and provisions for armed self-defense on Corps of Engineers managed properties. The Griffith Amendment also includes provisions for safe passage of guns and ammunition by non-prohibited persons. Those are things that everyone one in the gun culture, whether v1.0 or v2.0 can care about.

This bill revises a variety of existing programs to expand access to, and opportunities for, hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.

Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

Components of firearms and ammunition and sport fishing equipment and its components (such as lead sinkers) are exempted from regulations of chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The authority of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the use of ammunition and fishing tackle based on its lead content is limited.

Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act is amended to: (1) increase the proportion of funding from the Act that states may use for acquiring land for public target ranges, and (2) delay by 10 years until 2026 the date after which interest from the wildlife conservation and restoration fund is available for apportionment.

Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2015

Interior must issue permits to allow a hunter to import polar bear parts (other than internal organs) if p the bear was legally harvested in Canada from an approved population before the May 15, 2008, listing of the polar bear as threatened.

Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2015

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may not prohibit individuals from possessing a firearm in public areas of a water resources development project.

Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

Federal public land management officials must facilitate hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on certain federal public land.

Hunter and Farmer Protection Act

The bill revises standards for determining what a baited area is for purposes of the prohibition on taking migratory game birds.

The National Park Service (NPS) may not prohibit individuals from transporting bows and crossbows if certain requirements are met.

The NPS may establish hunter access corridors.

Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2015

This bill revises the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act to extend the authority provided to Interior under the Act.

African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015

This bill revises and reauthorizes the African Elephant Conservation Act through FY2020.

This bill provides special rules to expand access to federal land and waterways for film crews of five people or fewer.

This is a bi-partisan bill strongly supported by the NSSF, the NRA, Safari Club International, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and many other shooting and hunting groups. Indeed, the target range expansion bill was originally proposed back in 2011 by former Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

I look at the Republicans who voted against the bill and some I can understand. Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) took anti-gun Sen. Mark Kirk’s seat though he IS a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) is new and represents a Brooklyn and Staten Island district. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is just an asshole. However, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) who represents south-western Kentucky including Paducah has some explaining to do. He is listed as a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and there are a lot of hunters and anglers in his district.

What I don’t understand (or maybe I do) are the 18 Democrats who are members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus that voted against the bill. Included in this list are past leaders of the Caucus such as Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Is their concern and that of their fellow Democrat CSC members polar bears, African elephants, and lead sinkers or is it a need to stick to the Democrat’s anti-gun national agenda?

I’d wager it is unfortunately the latter.

I am thankful that some Democrats – not all of whom are members of the CSC – crossed the aisle to vote for this bill. The goals of the bill are bi-partisan and worthwhile. Now it is on to the Senate where hopefully it won’t get lost in the shuffle. We need to start sending letters, faxes, and emails along with calls to our senators demanding this bill get in and out of committee and brought to the floor for a vote.

Sounds Like Someone Is Taking Re-Election Seriously

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is one of those Senate Democrats who is expected to be at serious risk for losing here seat in 2014. Indeed, Moe Lane of Redstate.Com said on her chances, “Kay Hagan is likewise well-advised to start planning for her retirement.” When Hagan was first elected in 2008 she rode the coattails of Barack Obama to the Senate. Fast forward four years and North Carolina is solidly a red state again.

It was against this backdrop that I read the announcement from Hagan’s office that she has been named a co-chair of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus.

Working to Support North Carolina’s
Sportsmen and Women

This week I announced that I have been named Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, which includes more than 300 members of Congress from all 50 states. After serving as Vice-Chair since January 2011, I’m proud to become the Co-Chair with my colleague from South Dakota,Republican Senator John Thune.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus was established in 1989 and works to protect the interests of America’s hunters, anglers and trappers. Approximately 1.4 million sportsmen call North Carolina home, and hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are economic drivers in our state.

In fact, the Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation contributes more than $7.5 billion annually to North Carolina’s economy, supports 95,000 jobs across in the state, generates $430 million in annual state tax revenue, and produces $6.1 billion annually in retail sales and services across North Carolina.

It’s evident that North Carolina is among the best places to hunt and fish in the country, and I’m honored to continue working to protect our rich outdoor heritage in my leadership role with the Sportsmen’s Caucus. I grew up in a family of lifelong hunters, and some of my favorite activities are hiking and fishing with my family across our state.

I’m excited to co-chair the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides the aisle to advance policies important to sportsmen and women.

Given that Sen. Hagan is now the Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus, there are a number of bills that I think she should be supporting or sponsoring on topics like shooting ranges, the EPA and lead, and the like.  Conversely, I think if she wants to get re-elected she needs to realize that sportsmen and women care about the Second Amendment and encroachments upon it. One needs only look at the blowback that Reed Exhibitions has gotten from hunters over their decision to ban modern sporting rifles at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show to see this confirmed. I hope she and her staff are listening.