NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal for signing SB 332, the Georgia Outdoor Passport Program, into law. The legislation creates the Georgia Outdoors Passport, an effort to encourage the next generation of hunters and anglers to participate in hunting and fishing, as well as current hunters to become mentors.
“On behalf of the firearms, ammunition, and hunting industries, the NSSF thanks Gov. Deal for signing SB 332 into law. The passage of this important pro-hunting legislation would not have been possible without the leadership and tireless efforts of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Chairman Tyler Harper,” said Trevor W. Santos, Director of Government Relations – State Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Oconee County, Ga. resident. “The creation of the Georgia Outdoors Passport will remove some of the barriers associated with getting new hunters afield, and in doing so, ensure our hunting heritage is passed on to future generations of sportsmen and women.”
Gov. Deal explained this legislation would pay dividends to future Georgia conservation efforts by creating a new generation of outdoorsmen and women and will reinvigorate hunting mentoring.
“This is an investment in Georgia’s next generation of outdoorsmen and women that will benefit their character, our heritage and Georgia’s wildlife,” Gov. Deal said. “This legislation removes barriers for youth to join parents and mentors in the fields, woods and waters, to learn about and take part in conservation culture of our state’s hunters, and to claim their role in preserving Georgia’s wildlife and traditions for the generations that will follow.”
SB 332 will do the following:
- Establish the Outdoor Passport License Program, to allow first-time Georgia hunters and anglers of all ages to receive an Outdoor Passport License – granting them the ability to fish and hunt many different types of game at a reduced cost during their first year participating in the program.
- Offer discounted licenses to those who complete the program and elect to purchase licenses for the next season.
- Create an outdoor mentor training program at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), allowing Georgia hunters and anglers to teach hunting and fishing to the next generation.
- Provide mentors who participate in the program incentives to encourage more seasoned outdoorsmen/women to register.
Georgia’s lieutenant governor said the legislation was possible because of collaborations with groups such as NSSF to create programs where industry and state government can partner to introduce outdoor opportunities to Georgia youth.
“Working together with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, we’ve developed an innovative program that will ensure that Georgia’s youth can participate in and enjoy outdoor sports at lower costs,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “NSSF was vital in bringing forward the valuable experience of families and sportsmen across Georgia to help create Georgia Youth Outdoors, encouraging families to get outdoors and enjoy God’s creation.”
The legislation’s sponsor, Georgia state Sen. Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla), credited his own experiences as a young man for his commitment to creating opportunities to benefit all Georgians and his appreciation for benefits of connecting with the outdoors.
“Hunting has always played a role in my life having grown up in South Georgia,” said Sen. Harper, Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee. “That’s why it’s vital to ensure our youth have the same opportunities we had to enjoy the great outdoors. With the signing of SB 332 into law, the Georgia Outdoors Passport will help our kids connect with, and embrace Georgia’s history of outdoor recreation and will teach them to be good stewards of the environment.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.