Present for the official signing at NRA HQ were (from l.): Erica Turgeon, NRA-ILA; Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA; Aurelia Skipwith, FWS director; Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President; and David Keene, NRA past president.
The National Rifle Association on Jan. 13 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that creates a framework for cooperation between the two organizations for recruiting, retaining and reactivating American sportswomen and men, and for promoting the conservation of wildlife and its habitat through the NRA’s hunter education and hunter outreach programs. Taking part in the signing event at NRA’s National Firearms Museum was USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith, who joined with NRA officers including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) Executive Director Jason Ouimet and David Keene, past president.
“Together with the USFWS, the NRA has worked for decades to ensure as many outdoorsmen and women as possible can safely and responsibly enjoy our hunting heritage,” said Ouimet. “We look forward to a formalization of this long-standing relationship and thank Director Skipwith for her tireless work on this effort.” The cooperative venture extends for a period of 10 years.
The MOU expounds on the common interests of the USFWS and the NRA to conserve America’s natural resources and to recruit, retain and reactivate America’s hunters. It seeks to “develop and expand a framework of cooperation among the parties to promote the conservation of wildlife through active management of wildlife populations; promote and enhance hunter education; enhance and expand access to shooting ranges and hunting; and, promote and enhance marksmanship and shooting safety. These activities complement each other and fit seamlessly into the respective missions of the Parties and serve the mutual interests of the Parties and the public.”
“This MOU strengthens our shared commitment to wildlife and natural resource conservation while preserving our American heritage of hunting and recreating outdoors,” said Director Skipwith. “This partnership supports the Trump administration and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s priority of increasing access to public lands and expanding hunting opportunities while promoting the safe, responsible use of firearms.”
Another goal is to develop science-based strategies for conservation in wildlife movement areas that take into account land boundaries, private property rights and multiple-use requirements of federal and state land management agencies; assist in educating the public on the benefits of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program; showcase successful conservation efforts executed; and work with the NRA and its constituencies to maintain existing voluntary agreements with landowners to preserve and protect wildlife habitat on private lands.
Each organization, as explained in the MOU, has a “common interest in the conservation of America’s natural resources … hunter safety, marksmanship and shooting safety.” The USFWS is the premier federal government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and the habitat all species call home for the benefit of the American people. The NRA provides education and training to members of the general public, to members of law enforcement and to our armed forces in the use of small arms, protects the Second Amendment right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, fosters and promotes the shooting sports, promotes hunter safety, and promotes and defends hunting as a viable and necessary method of the wise use of our renewable wildlife resources.
The MOU shall be implemented to the extent permitted by law, subject to budget limits and restrictions in keeping with each organization’s evolving missions.