Senator Helming introduces legislation to protect competitive shooting sports

Senator Pam Helming has introduced legislation (S.9530) to protect the long-standing tradition of sport shooting in New York State. The bill would clarify wording in firearms legislation that came into force on July 1 that does not specifically exempt competitive shooting sporting events, often held at sportsmen’s clubs, as “sensitive venues.”

Senator Helming’s bill would clarify in state law that firearms are still permitted for use at sports venues and programs, including school-sanctioned skeet, trap or clay target shooting teams and organizations such as sports clubs, youth clubs and Boy Scout camps .

“Sports programs and shooting competitions are conducted safely and responsibly, with applicable training and education. They must be allowed to work as they always have – safely and successfully. The language in our laws matters – and the language in the law that goes into effect on September 1 unfairly puts these programs at risk. Participation in these sports is increasing, especially in our rural areas. We must change the law immediately so that our student-athletes can compete and enjoy the educational and personal benefits of these sports,” said Senator Pam Helming.

The New York State High School Clay Target League is among the organizations expressing concern that state laws put these programs and participants at risk of liability.

“On behalf of the thousands of youth clay target shooting enthusiasts and their families, the New York State High School Clay Target League fully supports amending the Penal Code to allow sport shooting and target practice facilities to be exempt from designation as a sensitive site. We want to thank Senator Helming and all the supporters of this amendment for their efforts to support one of New York’s fastest growing high school sports,” said John Nelson, President of the USA Clay Target League.

“As the founder and coach of a local high school trap shooting team, I know how valuable this sport is to our student-athletes. Shooting sports teach students the important life lessons that any other sport imparts, including teamwork, responsibility, goal setting and, in addition, the safe handling of firearms by properly trained instructors. It’s a shame that Albany Democrats are isolating the shooting sports and these student-athletes. I am proud to sponsor this new legislation to ensure these sports can continue and protect our way of life,” said Geoff Gallahan MP.

“When I first heard about the governor’s plan to crush our way of life, my first thoughts were of my son, who participates in the school’s trap shooting program, and the life skills of patience, respect and camaraderie that he and countless others student-athletes learn. It’s policies like these that have our families, friends and neighbors scratching their heads and packing their bags. I would like to thank Senator Helming and Rep. Gallahan for introducing this legislation to preserve our culture in upstate New York. I am proud to support this legislation because it is about more than trap shooting, it is about preserving our traditions and passing on our heritage to our children,” said Brian Manctelow MP.

“I compete in skeet and clay, two of the shooting sports. These sports are becoming increasingly popular in New York, with high schools forming hundreds of teams across the state. It is important that our shooting sports can continue, especially for our young people. The sports have a long tradition in upstate New York, and participants learn how to safely and properly handle firearms. I am grateful that Senator Helming and Rep. Gallahan are introducing this legislation to protect the future of shooting sports.” said MP Marjorie Burns.

Constituents supporting this effort can sign the petition on Senator Helming’s website.

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