A package of important pro-sportsmen measures, known collectively as the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525), faltered in much-anticipated U.S. Senate action last week.
The failure of the bill’s passage on Nov. 26 had relatively little to do with its content or about individual lawmakers’ support or opposition to its provisions. Instead, it had everything to do with national politics of the partisan variety.
Surprised? Not us.
Following an objection instigated by the Senate Budget Committee’s top republican, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the bill was stopped on a procedural and partisan vote of 44-50, failing to reach the necessary 60 percent to overcome an objection.
The sticking point, as explained by Sen. Sessions, was a provision that would give the U.S. Department of the Interior—more specifically, the Secretary of the Interior—the power to increase the price of the Federal Duck Stamp, an authority that has belonged to Congress since the program was created to help protect and preserve wetlands in 1934.
Is the Duck Stamp issue insurmountable and could it act to derail the eventual passage of S. 3525? Hardly.
Instead, many saw last week’s Senate action was merely a message vote—a shot over the bow, if you will—and a preview of what we can expect for the next 4 years as republicans and democrats on Capitol Hill battle over government spending and tax increases.
In other words, get used to it.
Included among the 17 provisions for anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation contained in the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 are:
- The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act, which would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act to allow proceeds of excise tax generated by the sale of firearms, archery equipment and ammunition to fund up to 90 percent of expanding or constructing shooting ranges on both federal and non-federal land.
- The Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to clarify the original intent of Congress to exclude traditional ammunition—ammunition containing lead-core components—and fishing tackle from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is supported by one of the largest and most diverse pro-sportsman coalitions ever assembled, including the NRA, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, American Sportfishing Association, International Game Fish Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance, Center for Coastal Conservation, Boone and Crockett Club, and nearly 40 more.
If you count yourself among those individual sportsmen and women supporting S. 3525, the odds remain in your favor for an ultimate victory.
But, like most things occurring in Washington D.C. these days, you can also bet the road will have its share of bumps and sharp turns (both right and left).