Maine: Anti-Gun Legislators Trying to Shut Down Shooting Ranges
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On May 10, President Trump signed the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act  into law. This NRA-backed law will help promote firearm safety and training and enjoyment of the shooting sports by freeing up more federal funds for use in public shooting range development and construction.

Beginning in 1937 with the passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act – commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act (P-R Act) – federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment have been returned to the states to help promote wildlife conservation and restoration. Participating states must ensure that hunting license fees are used exclusively for the administration of the state’s fish and game department.

Fifty percent of the excise tax revenue from handguns, bows, and arrows may be used for hunter education programs and the development and operation of archery and firearm shooting ranges. Additionally, there is an $8 million annual set-aside for firearm and bow hunter education and safety program grants within the states, which can also help fund ranges.

The P-R Act has been critical in preserving America’s hunting and sport-shooting heritage. State wildlife management programs have brought back species that in the early 1900s were in severe decline or on the brink of extinction, including white tailed deer, wild turkey, and wood ducks. Managed hunting, of course, plays a critical role in this responsible stewardship.

The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (S. 94/H.R. 1222) amended the P-R Act to provide states greater opportunities to use the P-R funds apportioned to them for public range development.

First, the Act reduces the states’ mandatory matching share for a range development project from 25% to 10% (a state, in other words, only needs to provide 10% of the funding, while P-R funds can provide up to 90%).

It also extends the time a state has to obligate and expend the funds for range development from two fiscal years to five fiscal years.

Finally, the Act provides a new revenue stream for funding range development. It will allow up to 10% of specified apportionments from the wildlife restoration account to be used for this purpose. These funds were formerly unavailable for range construction, maintenance, or expansion projects.

We encourage states to take full advantage of the increased opportunities this new law will provide for them to build or expand safe, convenient, and modern accommodations for residents and visitors to responsibly exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The NRA applauds the passage of this legislation and again would like to thank President Trump for signing this important legislation into law.

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  1. Awesome. Now if I could afford to join one I could stop calling myself a firearm COLLECTOR!

    • Costs me $35 for one range (renewel) $45 the first time and that price has been like
      that for almost 2 decades.

      The other range costs me $40 per year.

      Well worth it for the amount of shooting I do be it skeet, handgun, rifle, etc….

      • Sorry, but I hate you guys (jk).
        One range near me (45 minutes away) has a $200/year membership, with a $180 initiation fee. I applied anyway two years ago, but they have a LONG waiting list. Other ranges are pretty much the same, with the exception of an indoor (pistol only) range I’ve joined for $40/year. But it maxes out at 25 yds, and no rifle calibers allowed ( unless you pay the $300/year Platinum plan.)

        • “I hate you guys” is a funny way to make friends and be friendly.

          But I understand your consternation for not having a range nearby that will accommodate the average shooter’s budget.

        • If it’s any consolation I was paying $175/yr to the Isaak Walton League but then I moved last year to the next county over. The new range is $70 without an NRA membership, $50 with. It’s a nicer and better maintained range as well, although there’s only a 100 yard rifle range, the IWL had 200. You’ve got to drive a ways to get anything longer than 200. You also have to get out of your truck and unlock the gate – the IWL had an automatic gate with a key fob transponder. That was nice. I’d pay an extra $10/yr for that.

      • Here we pay an annual fee of $25 to shoot any day of the week other than Monday and Tuesday which are reserved for enforcement people. 2 pistol ranges and 1 rifle. Also, we do Not have to carry a target stand or pick up brass. We use self adhesive targets and simply walk off when finished. About as good as it gets!

        • You guys are talking about PRIVATE clubs and ranges. As I understand it they aren’t getting a dime. This is for PUBLIC ranges operated by your states fish and game, wildlife, or conservation department.

          Here in PA the public ranges are few and far between. They all have slightly different ranges available, but rarely more than 200 yards. Most have no pistol range at all, and only a few have a shotgun range. There is a 3 round or 6 round in the magazine limit (varies by range) and they will fine you something stupid like $100 per round over the limit if they catch you. There is no rapid fire allowed, no non paper targets, except for clays if they have a shotgun range. A few years ago they started requiring people to buy a permit to use them if they don’t have a hunting license, which is $30 a year.

          We mostly all belong to private clubs which run from $25 a year to $150 a year for the ones within a reasonable drive of me. We probably have 2 dozen within an hour radius. A lot of gun shops in the area have added pay by hour ranges. We probably have about 5 or 6 of those within an hour radius.

          So thanks congress for giving more of my tax money to the bunny cops for shit that isn’t going to do anything for anyone except the old Fudds.

  2. I wont hold my breath here in Palm Beach County.
    They have had the money Federal and State for years.
    The site to build us a county range for years.
    They even broke ground 2 years ago.
    Wheres my range????

    • Jay, you live in the wrong part of Florida. I ETS from the army in ’83. Nice public range in the Appalachicola National Forest off Springhill Rd. Haven’t been there since ’91 as I had access to the academy ranges and more recently two private ranges. Much shorter drive. I understand that the public range has been substantially upgraded. As an aside, two retired Leon County deputy sheriffs opened a range in Gadsden County. Talon. Attended several firearms classes with J.D. Good guy. Don’t know his partner, but top notch facility and growing. If you find yourself in the Big Bend stop by. Don’t know who’s responsible for your range, but you need to get on their ass.

      • Yah I know Im in the wrong part alright. When I moved here 45+ years ago it was rural and we used the local gravel pit. That stopped in the late 70s early 80s.
        They built Markem Park in Ft Lauderdale a 20 min drive back then early 90s in Broward County. It was mostly natives and republican then.
        The county kept it up for the 1st 10 years or so. They used to have the pros there and The Chevy Challenge every year. Now Markems a shitbox not kept up and very understaffed.
        Both counties are mostly Libotard and RHINIO run and its +50% dimwits in both counties from the North East.
        They are turning both counties into the shitboxes they made up North.
        The range was being built in 2016 and then stopped. Nothing done in 3 years and its even getting overgrown on what they did do.
        They claim its over mismanagement over the funding.
        I say its the county Dimwits holding it up like everything else in the country.

        • Jay,
          I live in Boynton and am also irritated about Palm Beach County not completing the public range.
          Are you aware of the Palm Beach Sheriifs Range on Southern Blvd?
          It’s rifles only and only open one or two weekends per month. All the same rules as Markham, but a much friendlier place to shoot. Goes out to 100 yards on Saturday and 200 yards on Sunday.
          You can also shoot in the Corbett Wildlife Management Area right across the road from the unfinished range.
          The game wardens have interpreted Florida Law 790.15 to mean they cannot stop target shooting in the WMA during hunting season. They have changed the brochures to reflect that target shooting in WMA’s is legal.
          I can take you there come September

    • Ben Avery is close to my house and a great deal. I hope they build tons more like it nationwide. More ranges, more trained shooters, greater safety for all and above all more awareness that gun owners aren’t ‘nuts’ practicing to stage a mass shooting as the MSM would have us believe.

  3. Since we’re gonna have all these new ranges making all that noise how about pushing through something to help quiet things down, like some kind of ‘hearing protection act’ or something.

    • Be careful what you ask for….. The same idiots that are fighting us tooth and nail will then require we use suppressors and will force them on anyone who carries.

  4. I hate to dash everyone’s hopes but several years ago they proposed putting up a public shooting range on Federal Land for the public and the Democrats unanimously voted for it. As to be expected the Republicans voted it down and were honest about why they did. They said they were too cheap and stingy to spend the money. The result was all recreational shooting was then banned because people were shooting in unsafe areas to the public and shooting up glass bottles making it even worse. The proposed Federal range would have had Federal employees on duty to make sure everyone obeyed common sense rules. So much for Republicans always being the friends of gun owners. When it comes to spending a penny that will not go in their own pockets they stab gun owners in the back every time. Remember what great friends of ours the Republicans were when they trashed the hearing protection act, it never even got put up for a vote. Not that I cared personally when it came to silencers but a lot of other gun owners did want it.

      • Is that why they’re never able to lend a hand to gun owners? Their hands are caught?

    • Vlad, you have zero credibility…all you do is constantly shout into the abyss and the abyss shouts back and it scares you down to your manties.

      Still spewing The Big Lie, misinformation and tripe. The US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have (in most places) firearm-friendly policies regarding shooting on public lands administered by their Agencies.

      • Try watching the accredited news programs some time before making a fool out of yourself. The Story I related to was all over the news several years ago. It was talked about also on many gun web sites on how the Republicans stabbed us in the back. Next you will be telling me Paul Ryan did not table the hearing protection act and it was all the Democrats fault. Your beginning to sound like Trump now. Your the one who has zero credibility as you refuse to believe any news story that does not fit your political view point.

  5. My county has an outdoor range provided by county $$. Seniors and vets have free use. The range has 2 shotgun areas w/traps, a pistol area and a 100 yard rifle range. Non seniors and non vets pay a nominal (I think it’s $20) per year. This fee goes to the gun club for maintenance of buildings and traps.
    Only real issue is that snow/rain make it hard to use for 5-6 months!

  6. Spring Valley In outside Cincinnati, Ohio, has Shotty traps a 14 yd Pistol a 25, and 50 yr pistol/rifle, but the 25 yard is for zeroing Rifle not continuous shooting and then a 100 yd range. Open 10 am til 5 pm cost 24 dollars for the year. Stay all day. The only problem is after I spent a day there I had to replace all the ammo.

  7. Land, what land, it’s all under water. And even if, I can’t think of one place in this State that has public land. I’m sure there has to be , but where?

  8. Indianapolis, Indiana a supposed weapon friendly state closed the only outdoor range on state or city property because they would not pay the contractors cost for maintenance/upgrades and operation. Citizens wishing to open a range are met with zoning delays upon delays until they withdraw their plans.

  9. This bill was pretty obviously NSSF’s baby from the very start (they’ve been relentless in their updates on its progress).

    Guess which org isn’t mentioned in this article about the “NRA-backed” law?

    BTW, all this bill does is allow states an easier suck at the teat of an excise tax set up to make firearms products more expensive & less attractive. A poll tax whose proceeds are used for voter outreach in white neighborhoods isn’t exactly a call for celebration. This is no different.

  10. I can’t wait to see the public ranges popping up all over the place here in Illinois. Fat chance!

    Both outdoor ranges nearest to me are over an hour away. My shooting club charges an initiation fee of $320.00. The annual dues for membership are an additional $280.00. On top of that there is a $15/month special assessment ($180 a year). Plus mandatory 5 hours of work a year. At least there is no waiting list.

    • Good grief. With prices like that, no wonder there’s no waiting list.

      I should count my lucky stars, I guess. I just drive a half-hour to a particular stretch of public land — state land & national forest are open to target shooting by default and there’s a lot of both out here. Select a spot with a hill as a backstop, set up my targets, and have at it. Most of the time I’m the only one there.

  11. The Pittman Robertson Act of 1937, like the 1934 NFA, was passed in the Pre-Heller/Pre-McDonald era when the Second Amendment was not recognized as an individual right. In that time the 1934 NFA was passed using special taxes as the means of control. Regardless of any perceived benefits, placing any type special tax on products directly associated with exercise of a civil right remains constitutionally suspect.

  12. Jay doesn’t live in The Real Florida. He lives in New York South. Up here in a North Florida, I have my own range on my property. The only progressive counties are Alachua and Leon – where the universities reside. Jay, come on up, you’ll love it here!

  13. Our public range is $2/visit, $1 if you have a Golden Oldies card for National parks (it is in a National Forest).

  14. True Public Ranges are Not allowed to charge a membership. They are allowed to charge for use when one goes to the range. I used to go to Ben Avery range in Arizona even before it was the Ben Avery and the county charged a minimal fee for use of the range.

    As a shooter at that range we helped clean up at the end of the day or when the range officer wanted it done. It helped keep costs down and reduced potential safety issues related to brass under foot or other debris that may have landed where one could slip on it.

    I know that ranges that claim to be public are not as they charge membership fees. I have had this discussion with a number of ranges in my area. They claim they are open to the public as required by the funding they received, but only have to be open certain times and are allowed to charge a fee for use.

    Unless one can find out what kind of funding the range; (public tax money, PR funds, Federal Grants, Some NRA Grants, etc.). received for development and upkeep one will have a difficult time using a “membership range”.

    I was a board member of a membership range and we applied and received funds from the Friends of NRA and Grants to improve our ranges to meet EPA/Environmental requirements as well as improve stands, benches etc. at the range.. We were required to have set times for the general public to use our ranges and were allowed to charge a use fee. In our case we charged $5.00 per adult and young folks were free up to 18 years old ( to encourage young folks to learn and shoot). Parent or guardian had to be with the young folks. A member was there to act as range officer and ensure no deliberate damage to property.

  15. We have quit a few ranges in our area and they range from $50 to an average of $150 to $300 dollars a year without the initiation fees for new members. All the public ranges I am aware of have been gone now for years. Its makes it impossible for many low income or new struggling families to get into the fun of causal weekend plinking like we kids used to do in the old days. Private lands are all posted but in the old days all you had to do was ask and they let you shoot away to your hearts content. I am glad I was not born recently as the kids do not have a chance to get into firearms today. No wonder firearms ownership has now dropped to historic low levels. In the old days used guns could often be picked up for a song and a dance for a kids first gun. My first .22 rifl was a Savage Springfield bought brand new with no Federal Paperwork for $14.95 and .22 ammo was 50 cents a box for .22 l.r.and 35 cents that for .22 shorts. Now you know why so many kids had guns back in the good old days.

    Today every old gun is considered a collectors item and what we once considered “low budget econo grade guns” now go for hundreds of dollars as no one wants the used modern plastic crap and even the modern made junk is expensive second hand. Its another road block to new shooters getting into the gun culture. I saw just yesterday a garden variety WWII Enfield go for an astonishing $900 and it was in beat up condition. Now first time buyers do not even have low priced military surplus to start into the gun culture with. Its a losing game these days. No wonder so many kids have said its too expensive not only to get into gun collecting but just to be able to afford to buy ammunition for the high priced plastic garbage.

    More and more ranges are shutting down because Suburban blight has surrounded the ranges making the neighbors complain about nose and ricocheting bullets. One neighbor picked up a bucket full of bullets that landed in his yard. As you may have guessed that was the end of that shooting range that had been there for 75 years. Another range I used to belong to was shut down for over a year over noise pollution and ricochets even though the passing trains made more noise. There were law suits by the neighbors and counter law suits by the club. Some private ranges have just given up fighting in court because the cost of court and the range improvements to make them safer in an suburban environment were just too costly for small clubs.

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