September 22, 2021
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. NSSF thanks U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) for agreeing to talk with us.
1) Who introduced you to hunting and the shooting sports?
My father introduced me to shooting sports, so it’s something that has always been present in my life. My dad grew up during the Great Depression, joined the military when he was 17 and ended up as a waist gunner on B-17s. For me, growing up in Arkansas and especially in my family, we just always had a variety of firearms around the house. So, from a very early age, he taught me about shooting and handling firearms and was also very strict about gun safety.
2) What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting experience?
My most recent shooting sports activity was going to requalify for my Concealed Carry license. It lapsed during the pandemic when I wasn’t getting out as much, and I wanted to make sure that I would have a good showing under pressure. So I got some friends together, and one of my daughters also joined us, and we went out to the range and did some target practice. Luckily, I was able to qualify again so it was a fun and productive day.
3) Describe your favorite shooting sports or hunting activity.
My favorite outings are duck hunts. It doesn’t get any better than duck hunting in Arkansas – getting up early and being out on a cold, crisp morning, being with friends and watching the waterfowl fly in and the other wildlife around you – it is really special. And also watching the dogs work during the course of the hunt and appreciating their ability to perform their duties with so much skill and excitement. The whole experience is just so enjoyable and memorable, and getting to do it with friends and family just makes it that much more so.
4) Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearm industry is particularly important to you and why?
I believe the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act of 2021 is one of the most important pieces of firearm protection legislation currently being debated this congress. We’ve seen a major increase in firearm purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is critical that we ensure that no elected politician or Washington bureaucrat can restrict access to firearms by declaring gun violence a public health emergency. This inalienable right enshrined in our Constitution does not stop during emergencies or natural disasters, and I intend to work hard to pass this critical legislation.
5) What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts?
I think one of the most pressing challenges we recently faced was the nomination of David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). His deeply flawed interpretation of our right to keep and bear arms was very troubling and I’m pleased we were able to organize enough opposition to defeat his nomination. Mr. Chipman’s nomination can serve as a reminder of how critical it is to stand up against the serious threats facing the rights of gun owners as well as for firearms manufacturers and sellers, and the shooting recreation industry. Sporting enthusiasts and hunters can seize this opportunity to educate others in their community on responsible gun ownership and the benefit it has for many Americans across the country.