FAIRFAX, VA -- With solid support from the National Rifle Association (NRA), today Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 734 into law, safeguarding hunting land for future generations. This law allows property owners to continue hunting on their land, or leasing it out to sportsmen, even if they are annexed by a municipality with an ordinance banning the discharge of firearms. The bill also adds "wildlife management" to the list of activities which would be grandfathered under Texas` "Right To Farm" Act when annexation occurs.
"As cities grow, opportunities for hunting or sport shooting diminish," said Chris W. Cox, NRA`s chief lobbyist. "Most municipalities have ordinances banning the discharge of firearms, with no exception for lawful hunting or safe recreational shooting. Existing Texas laws offered minimal protection to property owners who are annexed by a city, but wish to continue hunting on their land or leasing it to sportsmen before development occurs around them.
"SB 734 addresses that shortcoming," Cox added. "We hope it will serve as a model for other states that wish to address urban sprawl and its impact on hunting and sport shooting."
One of the priorities of NRA this year has been passage of "No-Net-Loss" of public hunting land legislation, which was successfully passed in Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland and Georgia. However, that type of proposal would have limited impact in a state like Texas, where roughly 95% of land is privately-owned.
"NRA thanks Governor Perry and the Legislature, especially bill sponsors Rep. Anna Mowery (R-Fort Worth) and Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), for their decisive action to protect hunters` rights," Cox added. "We also want to thank the Texas State Rifle Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Wildlife Association, and the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for their support in addressing the sportsmen`s access issue in a manner that will truly have a positive impact in the Lone Star State."
The National Rifle Association is the nation`s leader in protecting the right to hunt for all law-abiding Americans. Along with approximately 17 million American hunters and many national conservation organizations, NRA is working to preserve the American hunting tradition for future generations. Hunters and sportsmen play a pivotal role in America`s economy and society, and have been leaders in promoting wildlife management and conservation. Since 1939, hunters and shooters have paid over $4 billion in excise taxes on sporting equipment. Hunters and fishermen fund nearly 75% of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies. And, hunters contribute $21 billion to the American economy each year.