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Let’s Celebrate National Shooting Sports Month

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

With August in full swing, it’s time to celebrate National Shooting Sports Month

The official celebration, commemorated every August since 2017, honors America’s shooting sports heritage. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms trade association, is seen as the driving force behind National Shooting Sports Month. Why is August dedicated to recreational shooting sports? Here’s an explanation

People can go target shooting year-round, but the month of August is National Shooting Sports Month— a time for the community of firearms owners to celebrate and enjoy the shooting sports with friends, family and newcomers they want to introduce to these lifetime activities....Firearms owners deserve a dedicated time that draws positive attention to their sports and its many benefits, and to simply serve as a reminder to make time to enjoy a day at the range whether by themselves or with a friend or family member.

Trump Administration Continues to Lend Support Behind This

In a recent White House Proclamation, President Donald J. Trump expressed his support. 

His administration, through the Department of Interior, has encouraged safe and responsible gun usage through efforts like this. It has also touted the recently-passed Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, which “allows states to use their Pittman-Robertson Fund allocations to begin construction of new ranges, or improve existing state-run public recreational shooting ranges.”

Here’s this year’s proclamation

Our great Nation has a rich history of fostering responsible gun ownership.  In the early days of our Republic, turkey shoots encouraged community engagement and brought families closer together.  As our country grew, these local events developed into large regional and national events and competitions that drew thousands of spectators.  By the late 19th century, sharpshooters such as Pawnee Bill and Annie Oakley established popular shows with Wild West and other themes, touring the country with acts featuring their talent with firearms.  These pioneering American folk heroes demonstrated the courage, skill, and persistence necessary to excel in shooting sports and that reflect our founding values.  Today, we continue to promote interest in such social pastimes that celebrate our rich and unique history of shooting sports.

As we encourage our fellow Americans to take part in learning more about firearms this month, including safety and proper instruction, we also pledge to continue doing our part to ensure that our rights are never infringed upon.   Enshrined in the Bill of Rights, our Second Amendment protects the individual liberties of Americans to keep and bear arms.  Since my first day in office, I have made clear that my Administration will always protect and defend the Second Amendment.  We will continue to oppose those individuals and policies that attempt to tread on this essential and cherished liberty.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt joined in and tweeted, “This National Shooting Sports Month, we encourage our fellow Americans to take part in learning more about firearms, including safety & proper instruction, we also pledge to continue doing our part to ensure that our rights are never infringed upon.”

A Great Occasion to Promote True Gun Safety

With over 19 million new guns purchased since January—and plenty of first-time buyers to boot—there is a great opportunity to take new recreational shooters out to the range. 

Much to the chagrin of gun controllers, the firearms industry consistently prizes safety and responsible gun usage above all else. Education is always stressed and emphasized. 

With gun ownership comes great responsibility. Firearms aren’t toys, and any blunder in handling them could be weaponized by our opponents to misconstrue and misrepresent our way of life. Worse, law-abiding gun owners will continue to be maligned and be equated to criminals if people improperly handle guns. Such a fate is easily avoidable. 

Gun owners care. Therefore, we are obligated to impart this safety-first mentality onto our new gun-owning brothers and sisters. 

Excise Taxes Collected on Guns and Ammo Go Back to Conservation

Gun owners help fund the bulk of conservation funding in the U.S. through excise taxes, which are collected on sporting goods like firearms, ammunition, fishing/hunting licenses, and bows. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) describes an excise tax as “taxes paid when purchases are made on a specific good.” 

This mechanism was created through the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, where the Department of Interior collects excise taxes on sporting goods to be “allocated to the Wildlife Restoration Fund and Sportfish Restoration Fund, and apportioned to conservation programs in all 50 states based on land area and hunting and fishing licenses.”

For pistol and revolver purchases, an 10 percent excise tax is applied while an 11 percent excise tax is collected from rifles and ammunition sales.


August is a great month to teach newbies and polish our own shooting skills. Practice makes perfect. And range time is a great way to destress, get focused, and train. 

Remember to shoot responsibly and have fun! Let’s go shooting, America.


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