Arkansas’s public lands have been used by sportsmen for generations. But over the last few years, Federal overreach by Washington bureaucrats has put that tradition in jeopardy. New regulations are threatening to severely restrict access to public lands. And that’s not all, these new regulations are also threatening our second amendment rights, even going to so far as to dictate how ammunition is made.
That’s why I was proud to sponsor the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which recently passed the House with my support. This bill rolls back these onerous Federal regulations on public lands—increasing access for fishermen and hunters—and provides important protections to our 2nd Amendment rights.
Specifically, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act clearly reaffirms that fishing, hunting, and shooting are important, traditional activities that should continue on public lands. Further, it ensures that Federal land managers support and facilitate use of public land for these activities. And it implements an “open until closed” management policy on public lands which protects against any future Federal efforts to arbitrarily block access. Finally, it allows sportsmen to purchase federal duck stamps on the internet—increasing access and lowering costs.
This legislation also protects and supports 2nd amendment rights in several important ways. First, it guarantees the right to bear arms on any lands owned by both National Park and National Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. And it increases funding to states for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges. The bill would also prohibit the EPA from regulating traditional ammunition and fishing tackle, which protects jobs and keeps hunting affordable for Arkansas’s sportsmen.
Hunting, fishing, and the outdoorsman way of life are central to Arkansas’s identity. I grew up on a farm and spent my childhood hunting and fishing with my dad. When I’m at home in Dardanelle, I often go for runs on Mt. Nebo, one of Arkansas’s many public parks. These are some of things I missed the most about home while I was deployed in the Army and we must make sure they are protected. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation quickly and help preserve Arkansas’s sportsmen heritage.