The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017, or H.R.3668 SHARE Act, passed an important vote in the House Committee on Natural Resources this week despite some outlandish claims from anti-gun members of the committee (e.g., silencers make guns armor piercing). This means the bill now moves to the full US House of Representatives, a very big step towards passage into law.
As originally written, the bill opens certain types of Federal public lands to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting where it was previously prohibited. The entirety of the Hearing Protection Act was subsequently rolled into the SHARE Act, reclassifying silencers as ordinary firearms that can be purchased with a standard NICS check free from additional taxes.
As an omnibus bill, the SHARE Act contains a very broad selection of changes to existing law, including provisions that are of great importance to certain outdoor enthusiasts:
- permitting baiting of migratory birds for hunting purposes
- permitting transport of archery equipment through Federal lands where hunting is prohibited for the purpose of traveling to land where archery hunting is permitted
- grants access to Federal lands for “good Samaritan” search-and-recovery missions while removing Federal liability for the actions of private individuals on such missions
More significantly, the SHARE Act provides greater protections for citizens traveling with firearms and ammunition across state lines. The bill expressly states that stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, medical treatments, overnight lodging and “any other activity incidental to the transport” is included as protected. Defendants found wrongfully prosecuted under this bill would be awarded reasonable legal fees, “damages and such other relief as the court deems appropriate…”
Lastly, the SHARE Act eliminates the executive branch’s authority to reclassify “popular rifle ammunition as ‘armor piercing ammunition,'” eliminates restrictions on importation of non-NFA firearms or ammunition (not subject to a general trade embargo- sorry AK lovers…), and protects shotguns “and large caliber rifles from arbitrary classification as ‘destructive devices.'”
At the time of this publication, the SHARE Act’s appearance before the full House has yet to be scheduled. However, the bill seems to have political momentum that will hopefully carry it quickly to vote.
The Senate has yet to act on that body’s equivalent bill, but they are likely waiting on the House pass a final version of H.R.3668 so they can see what amendments were made.