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house Bill H.R. 3668

Should Recreational Hunters, Fishermen, and Marksmen Have More Access to Federal Lands?

Argument in favor

This is a bipartisan bill that would responsibly expand access to federal lands for people who enjoy recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting.

Sean's Opinion
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09/15/2017
So long as the areas are properly maintained and populations are regularly checked to make sure that they are not being reduced below sustainable levels.
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Scott's Opinion
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09/14/2017
The Federal government owns far too much property. We can at least put it to use to benefit the people.
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Mart's Opinion
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09/14/2017
National lands mean we, the people own them.
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Argument opposed

There should be no more fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting on federal land than already takes place, or it should be further restricted.

Jana's Opinion
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09/12/2017
This bill includes a rollback of regulations for the sale of gun silencers, as a 'Hearing Protection' measure, putting the public and the police in jeopardy, while enabling gun manufacturers to recruit new customers as children by making guns sound less scary. But what a silencer actually does is allow assailants to shoot people without being detected or making it sound like the shot came from the opposite direction. I don't believe that has anything to do with enhancing recreation opportunities on Federal land, as the official title of this bill states.
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Jose's Opinion
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09/14/2017
I'm a police officer and I can't even begin to tell you how much this rollback of silencer regulation will endanger the public as well as those who serve and protect. We need better common sense gun laws across this country, that are proven to reduce gun violence, universal background checks, taking away access to the mentally unstable or any violent offender. All of this will make us safer as a country and not these laws that are chipping away at the regulations that keep us safe. If this bill passes we are going to need a lot of thoughts and prayers from our representatives because these provisions that they have been voting for certainly isn't going to keep me or my family safe.
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Leo's Opinion
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09/14/2017
There is more than enough land set aside for recreational hunting and fishing. Has there been an unprecedented rise in the number of hunters that I'm not aware of?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Environment and Climate Change
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
      Water Resources and Environment
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedSeptember 1st, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 3668?

This bill -- known as the SHARE Act -- would revise existing programs and establish new laws related to the management of federal lands with the goal of expanding access and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on those lands. It contains several pieces of legislation that have also been introduced as standalone bills, which we've broken down below.

The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act would be revised to allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other agencies of the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to use funds from the sale of lands they administer to purchase inholdings (private land surrounded by federal land).

Also included within this bill would be the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which opens up wilderness areas and other lands managed by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting. Causes for restrictions to remain in place would include public safety or national security concerns, and other federal laws precluding those activities, in addition to discretionary limits established through a public, scientific process.

The Hearing Protection Act would be included in this bill to ease restrictions on the ownership of firearm suppressors (aka silencers) by treating any person who acquires or possesses a silencer as meeting any federal registration or licensing requirements for that silencer. Buyers of silencers would have to pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS). It would also eliminate the $200 transfer tax on silencers and allow any person who paid a transfer tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 to receive a refund. Additionally, the bill would preempt state or local laws that tax the transfer of silencers.

Under this legislation the authority of the DOI and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the use of ammunition and fishing tackle based on its lead content would be limited. Components of firearms, ammunition, and sport fishing equipment would be exempted from chemical substances regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

An existing law known as the Pittman-Robertson WIldlife Restoration Act would be amended to:

  • Increase the proportion of funding from the Act that states may use to acquire land for public target ranges;

  • Delay by 10 years until 2026 the date after which interest from the wildlife conservation and restoration fund is available for apportionment.

The National Park Service (NPS) would be authorized to establish hunter access corridors, but wouldn’t be able to prohibit individuals from transporting bows and crossbows if certain requirements are met. Standards used to determine what constitutes a ‘baited area’ related to the prohibition on taking migratory game birds would be revised.

This bill also contains a provision aimed at preventing the illicit trafficking of animal products by requiring verification that imported polar bear parts were taken legally from approved populations in Canada before the animal was listed as threatened in 2008.

Other provisions of this bill include:

  • The Army Corps of Engineers would be blocked from prohibiting the possession of a firearm in public areas of a water resources development project.
  • Access to federal lands for eligible individuals and organizations conducting good Samaritan search and rescue missions would be subject to an expedited approval process.
  • The DOI would be required to reissue rules delisting the gray wolf in Wyoming and the Greater Lakes region from the endangered species list. 
  • The Dept. of Justice's authority to regulate rifle ammunition as being "armor piercing" would be eliminated if it's primarily intended for hunting, recreational, or competitive shooting.
The bill's full title is the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act.

Impact

People who would fish, hunt, or shoot recreationally on covered federal lands; the USFS; the BLM; the NPS; the Army Corps of Engineers; and the DOI.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3668

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) introduced this bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting:

“This bipartisan legislation is full of important initiatives that facilitate access to outdoor sporting activities and uphold the values and traditions celebrated by sportsmen and women across the United States. I am eager to continue working with my colleagues on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and in the House of Representatives to continue moving this meaningful bill forward on behalf of America’s hunters and anglers.”

This legislation enjoys the bipartisan support of four cosponsors — including three Republicans and one Democrat. Its predecessor from the previous Congress passed the House on a bipartisan 242-161 vote, but wasn't considered in the Senate.


Of Note: In a 2011 survey compiled by the DOI — the entity that oversees agencies that manage federal lands and waterways — it was estimated that there are more than 33.1 million anglers (i.e. people who fish) in the U.S., and about 13.7 million people who hunt. It further projected that anglers spent nearly $42 billion on fishing in 2011, while hunters spent $34 billion on their hobby.

The BLM, which has 245 million acres of public land under its administration, is in charge of more federal land than any other agency. It holds that title over the Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres. Together, they manage 438 million acres —  684,375 square miles — an area larger than Alaska.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user pocketwiley)

AKA

Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act

Official Title

To provide for the preservation of sportsmen's heritage and enhance recreation opportunities on Federal land, and for other purposes.

    So long as the areas are properly maintained and populations are regularly checked to make sure that they are not being reduced below sustainable levels.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill includes a rollback of regulations for the sale of gun silencers, as a 'Hearing Protection' measure, putting the public and the police in jeopardy, while enabling gun manufacturers to recruit new customers as children by making guns sound less scary. But what a silencer actually does is allow assailants to shoot people without being detected or making it sound like the shot came from the opposite direction. I don't believe that has anything to do with enhancing recreation opportunities on Federal land, as the official title of this bill states.
    Like (52)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm a police officer and I can't even begin to tell you how much this rollback of silencer regulation will endanger the public as well as those who serve and protect. We need better common sense gun laws across this country, that are proven to reduce gun violence, universal background checks, taking away access to the mentally unstable or any violent offender. All of this will make us safer as a country and not these laws that are chipping away at the regulations that keep us safe. If this bill passes we are going to need a lot of thoughts and prayers from our representatives because these provisions that they have been voting for certainly isn't going to keep me or my family safe.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    There is more than enough land set aside for recreational hunting and fishing. Has there been an unprecedented rise in the number of hunters that I'm not aware of?
    Like (22)
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    Hidden in this bill is action that removes restrictions on purchasing gun silencers, which allows bad people to exponentially increase their ability to do bad things. Ignore the hunting on federal lands smokescreen.
    Like (19)
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    Don't allow gun dealers to profit over public safety. Every gun owner should pass thorough background checks before being allowed to buy guns. Also, the silencers make it more challenging for the police to do their jobs
    Like (16)
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    They have enough already! We need to conserve some lands for the protection of species!
    Like (14)
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    Please leave some land untouched, I don't need any more places to do my fishing, as I have just enough.
    Like (12)
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    You can hunt/fish your heart out and there is absolutely no reason someone would need to hunt/fish on Federal lands.
    Like (12)
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    It makes it way easier to own a silencer. As a son of a former cop, I fear for police officers lives with something so needless
    Like (7)
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    The Federal government owns far too much property. We can at least put it to use to benefit the people.
    Like (6)
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    There is enough access already. Others are entitled to enjoy these lands without having to worry about hunters.
    Like (6)
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    Too many other things attached to this bill that the public is not aware of. I don't think hunters, shooters or even fishermen need more land to decimate.
    Like (5)
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    National lands mean we, the people own them.
    Like (5)
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    "...the authority of the DOI and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the use of ammunition and fishing tackle based on its lead content would be limited. Components of firearms, ammunition, and sport fishing equipment would be exempted from chemical substances regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act." Yeah...that's a big problem. Lead's way too toxic to start removing regulations on it, and gun bluer will turn E. coli colonies purple. (True story, I did that in a college-level Biodiversity class. They survived for three weeks in direct sunlight, which was even more ridiculous for a bacteria that thrives inside the body.) This is so clearly not about hunting and gun rights; it's about the environment, which needs as much help as it can get. They also want to take the Grey Wolf off the endangered species list, which should be done by the FWS without Congress forcing their hand. I'm not worried about gun safety regarding hunting on federal lands, I'm concerned about lead and toxic materials entering the ecosystem.
    Like (5)
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    These are protected lands for a reason, and no way should silencers be made legal! Have an ounce of decency and don't be a completely corrupt politician who sells out to the gun industry at the expense of a healthy livable planet and people's basic safety.
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    No why would you the whole point is to persevere and protect nature
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    We just don't need additional hunting on federal lands and the roll back on the silencer just makes what was my favorite month in the woods the most dangerous month to be in the woods. Don't do this.
    Like (5)
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    Yes, the land should belong to the states and the American people should be able to use it for “recreational” purposes.
    Like (4)
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    Killing of wild animals isn't necessary any longer because we have grocery stores people! Hunting to me, is as archaic as bullfighting.
    Like (3)
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