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The Share Act Passes the House and Heads to the Senate

HR 3590, the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act would open more federal lands for hunting, increase public shooting ranges and protect the use of lead ammunition passed the House by a vote of 268-154 Wednesday.

The SHARE Act is actually numerous measures that would modify many existing laws pertaining to federally-controlled land. Sponsor Rep. Bill Latta (R-OH) argued his bill before Congress that “HR 3590 is good for the sporting and conservation communities.”

In 2011 13.7 million American hunters spent $38.3 billion, and created 680,000 jobs. An additional $1.6 billion annually is contributed to conservation through the purchase of license and permit fees as well as charitable donations.

Additionally, the SHARE Act protects the use of lead shot, bullets and fishing tackle on public lands. Conservation activists are targeting lead pollution in attempts to ban lead used in ammunition and in fishing tackle, citing lead as the cause of a decline in endangered species.

Passage of SHARE could prompt the reopening of public areas previously closed to hunting and fishing, and would allow the building of public shooting ranges on federal land. Share would also change the nation’s waterfowl hunters need for paper duck stamps moving stamps to a permanent electronic stamp method at both federal and state levels.

Furthermore, SHARE would allow the importation of legally captured polar bear trophies from Canada, charge fees for documentary crews of 5 persons or less, and regulate the use of firearms on Corps of Engineers waterways.

Every Republican representative voted in favor of the bill along with 41 Democrats. The SHARE Act now heads to the Senate for discussion.

If passed SHARE would provide additional hunting lands to hunters, as well as target practice and marksmanship training ranges for firearms and archery equipment. It would provide additional revenue for conservation management and research.

Perhaps the most important feature of the SHARE Act is in Section 602 titled “Protecting Americans from violent crime”, with the recognition of Congress if passed, of the Second Amendment as “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”(1). This is further stated in numbers 3 and 4 of Section 602 in regards to the use of firearms at water resources development projects underscoring the rights of the individual to keep and bear arms (3), and making “it clear that the second amendment rights of an individual at a water resources development project should not be infringed,” (4).

The passage of SHARE will not only benefit federal lands by providing management resources, additional hunting resources, target ranges, instruction for novices to improve hunting and firearms safety, but also provides validation that Congress recognizes the second amendment as a federal law that is not to be infringed upon.

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