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Wildlife Management Legislation

Friday, October 5, 2001

President Theodore Roosevelt, arguably America`s first prominent conservationist, knew first hand of the advantages regulated hunting and conservation bring to wildlife. During the late 1800s, Roosevelt saw animal numbers deteriorate because of human encroachment and over-hunting driven by unregulated meat and fur markets. As President, Roosevelt, an NRA life member, began creating government programs aimed at restoring game populations to healthy levels.

Most lawmakers understand the undisputable benefits that conservation and regulated hunting bring to wildlife, and many pieces of legislation have come about over the years to keep pace with the changing times and habitat conditions.

  • 1846 Rhode Island passed the first seasonal hunting regulation protecting waterfowl.
  • 1878 Iowa becomes the first state to initiate bag limits.
  • 1895 Michigan and North Dakota issue the first revenue generating hunting licenses.
  • 1900 Congress passed the Lacey Act which became the first federal law protecting game. It prohibited the interstate shipment of illegally taken wildlife and importation of species.
  • 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt established the first Federal Bird Reservation on Pelican Island, Florida. Early wildlife reservations would be re-designated as "national wildlife refuges" in 1942.
  • 1918 The Migratory Bird Treaty Act provided regulation of migratory bird hunting.
  • 1930 The American Game Policy was introduced by Aldo Leopold. The policy called for trained professionals to study and administer conservation efforts.
  • 1934 Congress passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, or the "Duck Stamp Act," requiring hunters of migratory birds to buy a federal duck stamp with the generated revenue going to wetlands conservation projects.
  • 1937 The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, created a 10% excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. A few years later the tax became 11% on long arms, ammunition, and bow hunting equipment and 10% on handguns. Revenue is deposited in a special trust fund under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used for state wildlife restoration projects. To date, over $3 billion in federal excise taxes have been generated.
  • 1950 Following the model set by Pittman-Robertson, the Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act passed. Revenue generated from fishing equipment sales was directed towards restoring and improving America`s fishery resources.
  • 1964 The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act was passed. It provided comprehensive guidance for administering the vast system of refuges in America, all of which provide wildlife with crucial habitat for survival.
  • 1970 With the passage of the Dingell-Hart Act, revenue from an existing 10% excise tax on handguns was transferred to the Pittman-Robertson trust fund.
  • 1972 An 11% Pittman-Robertson excise tax was extended to archery equipment with the passage of the Goodling-Moss Act. One-half of the tax revenue collected on handguns and archery equipment may be used by state fish and wildlife agencies for hunter safety training and range development.
  • 1976 The Federal Land Policy and Management Act provided for "multiple use" including hunting, fishing and wildlife management of the 270 million acres of public land.
  • 1980 With the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System was expanded, adding nine new refuges totaling more than 76.4 million acres.
  • 1984 The Dingell-Johnson Act was supplemented by the Wallop-Breaux Amendment. It extended the excise tax to all previously untaxed fishing gear and added a 3% tax to electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders. In addition, a portion of existing tax on boat fuel was devoted to this program.
  • 1985 The Food Security Act created the Conservation Reserve Program to assist farmers in converting highly erodible land from crop production to ground cover in order to improve soil, water and wildlife resources. Total acreage enrolled exceeds 30 million acres.
  • 1989 The North American Wetlands Preservation Act encourages partnerships to protect, enhance and restore wetlands and other habitats for migratory birds.
  • 1997 Passage of the Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act set out a mission statement and purposes to guide management of the 92 million-acre system. The Act established hunting and fishing as priority public uses of refuges.
  • 1998 The Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act reduced the standard for being cited for a baiting violation, but increased the penalties if convicted of such a violation.
  • 2000 The Fish and Wildlife Programs Improvement Act amended the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts to make needed reforms. It also earmarked over $7 million annually for the states to use in enhancing hunter education and range development.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

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West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, April 27, 2017

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Late yesterday, Governor Jim Justice signed two important pro-gun bills into law.

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

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South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Monday, April 24, 2017

South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss several firearm-related bills, and subcommittee members need to hear from you.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Rhode Island:  House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rhode Island: House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

On Tuesday, April 24, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a marathon hearing on several anti-gun bills.

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.