Republicans Betray Hunters and Anglers, Let Gun Lobby Hijack Sportsmen’s Bill

 Hearing Cancelled Until Further Notice 

Washington, D.C. – In a brazen and callous effort to help gun peddlers pad their bottom lines at the expense of the safety and security of American families, House Natural Resources Committee Republicans are holding a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on a National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed bill that would weaken rules governing the importation of dangerous firearms, preempt state and local gun safety laws and deregulate silencers and armor-piercing bullets. If passed, the bill would remove silencers from the National Firearms Act and enable dangerous people to buy silencers without a background check.

The discussion draft of the SHARE Act, introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), includes a number of natural resources-related titles ranging from bipartisan (facilitating search and recovery efforts on public lands) to extremist (allowing states to nullify federal fish and wildlife conservation standards). The draft bill, like many Committee Republican bills, aims to undermine bedrock conservation laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Wilderness Act.

The SHARE Act includes three titles focused on fulfilling the NRA’s legislative wish list. The following three bills have been harshly criticized by law enforcement and gun safety groups:

  • Title XII is text of H.R. 358, Griffith (R-Va.) – Interstate Transportation of Firearms
  • Title VII is the text of H.R. 367, Duncan (R-S.C.) – Hearing Protection Act
  • Title XVII incorporates H.R. 2620, Bishop (R-Utah) –  Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act

“We have tried and tried to work with House Republicans to hammer out a bipartisan package to benefit hunters and anglers for years now, but they are not interested in working together,” said House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “This year’s sham ‘sportsmen’s’ bill is the clearest sign yet that Republicans are only concerned with their quest to weaken bedrock conservation laws and hand out favors to the gun lobby.”

The bill is also disappointing for what it leaves out, including authorization of programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, among others that have tangible and well-documented benefits for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

“It is a shame that Committee Republicans are using the sporting public to help them weaken gun safety laws, as well as risk the safety of our law enforcement officers,” said Federal Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii). “They don’t want to have a public debate about their dangerous legislation, so they’ve attached it to an unrelated bill and are hoping that no one will notice what they do behind closed doors. I hope the groups that actually represent hunters and anglers across the country will stand up to this nonsense.”

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Diane Padilla                                                     

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