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In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 31 of the most influential organizations in the outdoors expressed their concern over restrictions to gun ownership.

The letter addresses the issue of tragic shootings such as the one that occurred in Newtown, and mentioned five things that the organizations support:

•Improvements to the already-existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

•Strict enforcement of existing firearm laws

•Changes to the treatment of the mentally ill

•Improved security in schools

•Community-based “family watch” programs that seek to deal with potential problems before they occur

Beyond these five points, the organizations oppose any “unnecessary restrictions” to the procurement and possession of firearms. The letter states that those restrictions had “no foundation in addressing the factors that led to this tragedy or like tragedies” and furthermore will impact an industry that adds billions to the national economy.

According to the letter, shooting sports participants contributed $5.4 billion to the conservation of America’s wildlife and hunter education system since 1991. This “user pays-public benefits” partnership provides the country with what is internationally viewed as one of the most successful conservation programs in the world.

Senator Reid is currently heading up a gun control package colloquially referred to as a “universal background check” measure, building off a bill by Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY). Many gun owners’ associations and hunting advocates oppose this proposal due to its intrusion on private transfers. According to Safari Club International (SCI), Senator Shumer’s bill could make a number of transfers illegal, including:

•Lending a friend a firearm on public land

•A student taking temporary possession of a firearm in a hunter safety class outside the range

•Lending a firearm to a friend in any location where hunting is not permitted, such as a suburban neighborhood

•Inspecting a gun at a convention or trade show




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