Over 20 Years of Policy Advances for Sportsmen.
IN WASHINGTON, DC:
2010 – Payment of Firearms Excise Taxes Changed
The “Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010” or so-called FAET legislation was passed and signed into law, allowing firearms and ammunition manufacturers to pay excise taxes quarterly as opposed to bi-weekly.
2010 – Petition for EPA to Regulate Lead Denied
In response to the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to the EPA to ban all lead ammunition and fishing tackle, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation engaged several state caucuses and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council to submit a letter of comment to the EPA in opposition to the petition. One state letter and the Executive Council letter were among those cited by the EPA as reasons the petition was ultimately denied.
2009 – Knife Definitions Protected
Members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus successfully blocked an attempt by the Office of Customs and Border Patrol to alter the definition of switchblade knives to include spring-assisted or one-handed-opening knives.
2008 – Recreational Boaters and Anglers Protected from Complicated Permits
The Clean Boating Act was passed to provide relief to America’s 18-million recreational boaters and anglers from a court ruling which would have instituted a complicated permitting process under rules established by the EPA.
2006 – Increased Funding for Wetlands Conservation
The reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) was signed into law, designating $75 million a year for programs through 2012. Passage of the Act resulted in conserving more than 20 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands in over 1,600 projects across North America. More than $790 million of federal funds have been invested through NAWCA.
2006 – Electronic Duck Stamp
The E-Duck Stamp Act passed and consequently launched a pilot program to make it easier to obtain a federal duck stamp on the internet. The change resulted in the online-sales of 250,195 federal duck stamps which produced $3.7 million towards waterfowl habitat restoration.
2005 – Firearm Industry Protected from Litigation
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passes, allowing the firearms industry to turn its focus back to business, rather than spending money defending against dozens of frivolous lawsuits estimated to have cost more than $200 million.
2005 – Funding Increased for Fisheries Conservation, Boating Safety and Boating Access
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to pass the Wallop-Breaux Amendment which altered the federal fuel tax to ‘capture’ the remaining 4.8 cents of the 18.3 cents-per-gallon federal fuel tax on motorboat fuel. This change ensured for the first time that all of the excise tax money spent by boaters and anglers on motorboat fuel flows back to boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access. According to a 2006 survey of the economic impact of hunting and recreational fishing, through this tax, $570 million is collected each year from boaters.
2001 – State Wildlife Grants Program Established
The State Wildlife Grants Program is born out of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) and becomes the nation’s core program for keeping wildlife from becoming endangered by providing much needed annual funding for on-the-ground conservation projects in every state and territory. Through 2008, this program resulted in more than $441 million for state wildlife conservation.
1999 – Reel Participation
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation established under the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act, was created to implement an outreach strategy to increase participation in recreational fishing and boating and thereby increase public appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving and restoring our nation's aquatic natural resources.
Since 2007, RBFF strategies and programs have resulted in:
- 3.73 million newcomers and youth introduced to boating and fishing.
- 2.05 million fishing licenses purchased.
- $30 million generated for state conservation efforts.
- $106 million generated for boating and fishing industries.
1998 – Access Enabled
The Disabled Sportsmen's Access Act passed, making it easier for disabled sportsmen to hunt on Department of Defense lands and allowing DOD to accept donations and volunteers to implement projects to increase access. This resulted in over 25 million acres of DOD lands being opened to the public for hunting.
1997 – Refuge Priorities Reformed
Hunting and fishing are designated as priority uses under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, the first major reform legislation for the refuge system in 30 years. Direct results of this Act were:
- Over 300 units in the National Wildlife Refuge System were opened to hunting.
- More than 270 units in the National Wildlife Refuge System offered access to fishing.
1996 – Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorized
The key federal law governing marine fisheries management, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, underwent a major revamping that resulted in substantial changes with the goals of conserving fish stocks and restoring overfished populations and with provisions instructing fishery managers to adhere strictly to scientific advice so as not to deplete marine fisheries.
1994 – Gun Act Defeated
Defeated the Firearm Victims Prevention Act, which would have diverted more than $60 million from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund to a newly-created Health Care Trust Fund. If the act had been passed, it would have effectively robbed state fish and wildlife agencies of wildlife management funds.
1994 – Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act
In response to the increase of harassment of hunting activities on public lands from anti-hunting organizations, the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act was passed, allowing for penalties to be brought against individuals who purposefully disrupt hunting activities on federally-managed lands.
1992 – Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge Vote
Although the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) were active on many issues in the early years, the first test of their effectiveness occurred in a classic showdown between sportsmen and the animal rights philosophy via an attempt to block a white-tail deer hunt on the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, a site overrun with deer, located just 18 miles from the Capitol. At the behest of animal rights groups, a provision to stop the hunt was included in the Interior Appropriations Bill. Lead by the CSC and the CSF, an amendment to support the hunt passed the House by a bipartisan vote. With this resounding win, CSC and CSF earned their stripes and demonstrated that sportsmen could effectively unite on conservation issues.
IN THE STATES:
Many legislative victories and policy successes have occurred at the state level over the past 9 years that the CSF’s States Program has been operating; in fact, they are too numerous to list here. Although the following list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, below are a few specific examples of how the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses/Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus framework, through working with the CSF, has been successful in defending and promoting the sportsmen's traditions in states across the nation.
2012 – Apprentice Hunting Program Expanded in New Hampshire
In 2012, the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus was successful in pushing for expansions to their previously established apprentice hunting program. On May 29, Governor Lynch (Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member) signed into law SB 297. Now, both resident and non-resident archery hunters will be afforded the opportunity to participate in the apprentice hunting program.
2012 – Further Lead Sinker Restrictions Defeated in New Hampshire and Washington
In January of 2012, legislation was introduced in Washington (HB 2214) which would prohibit the sale or purchase of lead recreational fishing equipment components. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the leader of the Washington Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and partners in the sportsmen’s community to educate Washington legislators and others on this issue. House Environment Committee hearings were rescheduled three times and the bill was eventually removed from the Committee’s calendar.
Additionally, by working with members of the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation staff was successful in preventing the expansion of restrictions on lead fishing tackle in New Hampshire. SB 224, were it passed, would have redefined restricted lead tackle to include all sinkers weighing one ounce or less and all jigs measuring less than 2.5 inches along their longest axis (including skirted jigs).
2011 – Iowa Dove Season Created
In 2011, after ten years of work led by the Iowa Sportsmen’s Caucus chair, SB 464 was passed to create the first dove hunting season since 1918.
2011 – Iowa Lead Bans Denied
A proposal was put forth by the Iowa DNR Commission that would prohibit lead ammunition on all state lands. Working with the Iowa Caucus leadership and Governor Branstad’s office, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team was able to ensure the proposal died.
Additionally, through the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) States Program Team’s relationship with both the Iowa Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Governor’s office, CSF was able to stop an attempt by the Iowa DNR Commission to implement a statewide ban on lead fishing tackle in public waters in 2011.
2011 – Conservation Funding Protected in New York
During the 2011 legislative session, New York was in danger of losing approximately $20 million in Federal funds from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program due to a clause in the budget that would allow revenue from license sales to be swept from the Conservation Fund to cover budget deficits elsewhere. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team worked with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and leaders of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to resolve this issue. New language in the Governor’s 2012 budget was added to rectify the situation, federal funds were not lost, and the investment of New York’s sportsmen and women in conservation was protected.
2011 – Species Important to Game Fish Populations Protected
The state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in both New Hampshire and Maryland worked with Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff to draft and submit formal written comments to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) on the Menhaden decline and the potential harm to game fish populations that may result. At their November meeting, the ASMFC voted to take measures which could potentially reduce the harvest of this important forage fish by up to 37%, beginning in 2013.
2011 – Lead Bans Defeated in Several Northeast States
Working with the legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as several partner organizations, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team helped prevent further restrictions on lead fishing tackle from moving forward in the Northeast.
2009 – Advancing Hunter Recruitment Programs
Members of our state caucuses introduced many pieces of legislation dealing with the recruitment of new hunters through apprentice hunting license programs, college student hunting licenses, or the like, that have subsequently been passed into law.
As of June 2011, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Idaho, Vermont, California and Louisiana had passed bills to advance hunting recruitment and retention efforts at the state level.
2008 – Anti-Gun Bills Defeated in Several States
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus to defeat a series of anti-gun bullet serialization bills in all 12 sportsmen’s caucus states where such legislation was introduced and defeated five anti-gun microstamping bills.
2008 – More lands opened to hunting
No Net Loss legislation passed in 9 states which ensured more than 8 million acres will remain open to hunting forever. As of June 2011, thirteen states have passed no-net-loss legislation that prevents state lands open to hunting and fishing to be closed without an equal amount of suitable lands becoming available for hunting and fishing access.
2008 – First Sales Tax Holiday on Outdoor Gear Established
Legislation in South Carolina created the first sales tax holiday dedicated specifically to outdoor gear such as firearms. This holiday occurred for the first time in December of 2008 and gun sales soared (650% increase in one day), resulting in a huge stimulus to the local firearms businesses of South Carolina.