August 25, 2022
NSSF Note: We are pleased to post the latest of our occasional Q&A features with an elected official who supports hunting and the shooting sports. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was awarded the NSSF Legislator of the Year for 2021 four months ago and we thank him for agreeing to talk with us.
- 1) What was your first experience shooting, either recreationally or as part of farm life?
My first exposure to shooting came growing up on the farm. Our little .22 was a varmint rifle, meaning it was more farm tool than a part of recreation or shooting sport. But it taught me the importance of promoting a culture of firearm safety as well as building a deep respect for the protections provided for us all in the Constitution.
- 2) What shooting sports or hunting activities are most common and important in Iowa?
Iowa has a strong culture of shooting sports and a long, storied history of hunting. There are ranges all around Iowa. But we’ve got some of the best deer and turkey hunting in the country, not to mention the abundance of wild pheasant especially in northwest Iowa.
- 3) How do you and your family contribute to the hunting culture of Iowa?
While the Grassleys don’t regularly find ourselves out in the field after harvest time, we make sure hunters can come harvest game after the crops are all out of the field. I also make sure to keep in touch with the groups of Iowans working to preserve our hunting and shooting sports culture, like Pheasants Forever, so I can make sure their voices are heard at policy-making tables in Washington, D.C.
- 4) Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearm industry is particularly important to you and why?
I’ve been working since 2013 to pass some form of the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act. That bill started as an amendment I wrote with Senator Cruz of Texas to ensure Second Amendment protections weren’t disregarded by our Senate colleagues as they debated a gun control bill. We got 52 votes for it, but had it filibustered by the other side. Since then, we’ve introduced that legislation in each successive Congress as a marker for both gun safety and protecting our Constitutional rights.
- 5) What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts?
There are some outright enemies of the Second Amendment in our country and in our government. I’ve raised concerns about this Justice Department masquerading gun control as a solution to the crime wave brought on by progressive law enforcement policies. I’ve written to President Biden about that issue as well as the need to ensure his chosen head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) demonstrates respect for “the Second Amendment rights of Americans and can deal fairly with the firearms industry.” As always, the best thing we can do to protect the Second Amendment is stick together and educate our fellow Americans—especially the next generation.