While Republicans cite bipartisan support for the bill, the House Natural Resources Committee approved it in a 27-16 vote.
Title III of the bill is the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness act, which comes from a bill that Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced in 2011. This title would allow the importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before May 15, 2008, when the polar bear was listed on the Endangered Species Act.
The rest of the bill looks to protect the use of firearms on federal land, and comes from bills offered by Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Title I requires federal land management officials to "exercise their authority under existing law, including provisions regarding land use planning, to facilitate use of and access to Federal public lands and waters for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting…" The only exceptions are related to public safety, national security, conservation or the existence of federal law that prevents these activities.
The bill finds that "recreational fishing and hunting are environmentally acceptable and beneficial activities that occur and can be provided on Federal public lands and waters without adverse effects on other uses or users," and that shooting is a "valid use of Federal public lands."
Title II of the bill comes from Rep. Flake, and would require congressional approval for any recreational shooting restrictions on national monument land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Flake said in November that this language is needed because BLM is proposing shooting restrictions on 600,000 acres of land in southern Arizona.
"Banning recreational shooting sports on public lands is yet another example of this administration’s bureaucratic overreach," said Flake in November. "The Recreational Shooting Protection Act will ensure that Congress exercises appropriate oversight over the BLM's proposed closures."
Title IV of the bill is based on another bill from Rep. Miller, which would end the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to ban ammunition and fishing gear that contain lead components.