On Friday December 12, President George W. Bush invited the NRA, along with 20 other sportsmen's organizations, to the White House to discuss issues of concern to hunters and sportsmen. Also attending the meeting were Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. During this meeting, the President reaffirmed his personal commitment to hunting, fishing, and sportsmen's issues. Additionally, Secretaries Norton and Veneman, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams, presented an overview of Bush Administration wildlife and conservation initiatives, including the opening of 50 additional National Wildlife Refuges to hunting and fishing. Also discussed was the need for the Administration to work with folks in local communities, including local gun clubs, when formulating new policies that impact hunting lands, such as increased exploration of natural resources.
"We were pleased to hear President Bush express both his steadfast support for America's hunting traditions and his recognition of the economic contribution that sportsmen make to the economy," said David Lehman, NRA-ILA Deputy Executive Director. "It is refreshing to see a President and an Administration that supports America's sportsmen, and actively works to increase hunting opportunities and hunter access to federal lands. We look forward to continuing to work with President Bush and his Administration on these important issues."