Fairfax, VA – This weekend the Nevada State Assembly and Senate unanimously overrode Governor Jim Gibbons’ veto of Assembly Bill 246, introduced by Assemblyman David Bobzien (D-Reno). AB 246 establishes an apprentice hunting license, allowing prospective hunters age 12 and older to try hunting with a mentor before completing a hunter education course. The bill is important in addressing hunter retention rates.
AB 246 had previously passed the Assembly on May 15 by an overwhelming vote of 38 to 2, with 2 absent. It passed the Senate on May 22 by a unanimous vote of 21 to 0. Even with the wide margin of bi-partisan support by the Assembly and the Senate, on May 28, the governor still vetoed this important legislation. However, on Saturday, May 30, after a tidal wave of grassroots pressure and negotiations for a compromise with the bill’s author, Gov. Gibbons recanted his position and agreed to the override of his veto.
Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA chief lobbyist remarked, “The Nevada legislature should be commended for passing AB 246. Hunting is a cherished American pastime that must be preserved and encouraged. This legislation ensures future generations of hunters will have the opportunity to safely learn about, and participate in, our hunting heritage. AB 246 will give young hunters the chance to try hunting without forcing them to first navigate through paperwork and red tape.”
Apprentice hunters are required to be directly supervised in the field by a mentor who is at least 18 years old and who holds a valid Nevada hunting license. Results in more than two-dozen other states show that this apprentice hunting program is exceptionally safe and will bring many new hunters into the field.
“Hunter recruitment is critical to the long-term preservation of America’s hunting heritage, as hunter numbers are declining. Nevada currently ranks 49th among all of the states in hunter recruitment. For every 100 Nevada hunters who permanently quit hunting, only 30 new hunters replace them. This slide must be reversed, and AB 246 will help in this effort,” Cox concluded.
Research shows that overly burdensome regulations deter citizens trying hunting for the first time. This includes the current requirement that virtually all prospective hunters complete hunter education. An apprentice hunting program allows people a “try it before they buy it” opportunity. Ultimately, many will want to complete a hunter education course in order to hunt on their own and pursue game that requires special tags. In the end, more citizens will complete hunter education and join the hunter ranks as a result.
The measure is now enrolled and is on its way to the governor’s desk. The measure will take effect on October 1, 2009.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.