Rep. Thompson Announces Opposition to So-Called “Sportsmen’s Package”

Sep 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and two-time co-chair of the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus, issued the following statement on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, following a markup on the legislation:

“The SHARE Act is being billed as a ‘sportsmen’s package’, but the drawbacks for outdoor recreationists in this bill outweigh the benefits,” said Chairman Thompson. “The bill includes a number of anti-conservation provisions, jeopardizes lives by weakening gun regulations, and opens up law enforcement officers personally to frivolous litigation.

“The bill would give States the ability to override federal fishing rules in federally-managed waters. This could be devastating not only to species, but also to the long-term viability of fishing industries and the countless jobs they sustain. Overriding the science that drives fishing in federal waters is short-sighted and counter to our economic interests. California’s National Marine Sanctuaries alone generate more than $140 million a year in economic impact from commercial fishing.

“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is a long-standing program that has been extremely effective in leveraging non-federal funds to protect, restore, and manage wetland habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. However, this bill would prohibit NAWCA from using funds for land acquisition, one of the core purposes of NAWCA: to protect and conserve wetlands for public benefit. Conservation projects like the California Delta and the Suisun Wetlands have been greatly enhanced because of NAWCA land acquisition. The beauty and diversity of wetlands like these belongs to all of us and must be protected. Wetlands across our country also support a $2.4 billion recreation industry fueled by hunters, birdwatchers, boaters, photographers, and many more.

“This bill would also deregulate the sale of firearm silencers. Advocates of this provision claim it serves to protect gun-owners’ hearing, a laughable assertion if the consequences weren’t so serious. Silencers do not actually silence gunfire, despite what we’ve seen in movies, they simply disperse the sound. We’ve all become too familiar with mass shootings in this country, and the deregulation of silencers could take future active shooter situations from bad to worse, preventing law enforcement from pinpointing active shooters.

“Further, the SHARE Act would open up our law enforcement officers to personal legal liability for doing their jobs when they inquiry about interstate firearm transportation during routine stops. This is absolutely ridiculous—we need to be making law enforcement’s job easier, not opening up individual officers to lawsuits.

“I deeply regret that my colleagues in the majority party have failed to take into account the priorities of hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists while crafting this ‘sportsmen’s package.’ I hope they will listen to the folks they are trying to help and make significant changes to the bill. Until then, I will continue to strongly oppose the legislation."