During National Shooting Sports Month, we celebrate the cherished tradition of recreational and sport shooting activities. Shooting sports bring people together and instill comradery among a significant portion of its fellow enthusiasts. The vibrant shooting sport culture is made possible, in large part, by our steadfast protection of one of our bedrock and most-cherished liberties, the right to keep and bear arms.
Americans have a long history of participating in recreational and sport shooting activities. Early sharpshooters participated in matches to entertain family and friends and test their skills for a prize. During the turn of the 18th century, these competitions grew in popularity and legends like Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley began to enthrall audiences around the world. Today, talented Americans rigorously train for worldwide competitions, including the Olympic and Paralympics Games. Whether amateur or professional, shooting sport athletes possess the traits that characterize the best of our Nation—they are disciplined, determined, passionate, and confident.
As President, the safety of the American people is my top priority, and I want to ensure that those participating in shooting sports—one of our Nation’s greatest traditions—have the proper facilities to learn how to operate a firearm responsibly. That is why I was proud, earlier this year, to sign into law H.R. 1222, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. This important legislation will support State wildlife management agencies as they construct or expand shooting ranges, providing more opportunities for citizens to safely and properly learn marksmanship skills. My Administration has also expanded access to America’s public lands, opening millions of acres for use, including by hunters and recreational shooters. And, in June, my Administration announced a plan to open an additional 1.4 million acres in national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries to new or expanded hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities. These actions will help ensure a perpetual investment in wildlife and habitat conservation, foster responsible stewardship, and increase interest in shooting sports for current and future generations.
As we celebrate this National Shooting Sports Month, I encourage all those participating in recreational and sport shooting activities to continue to learn from this tradition and to promote a culture of safety and responsibility.