Oct 27 2008 -
Hunting and fishing are time-honored traditions in Mississippi. Each year, thousands of sportsmen take to our lakes, rivers, and fields to enjoy the outdoors and partake in the ample hunting and fishing opportunities Mississippi has to offer. In addition to being an important part of our culture, sportsmen also have a strong impact on our state’s economy and play an important role in protecting Mississippi’s outdoors.
I understand the importance of Mississippi’s sportsmen. As a member of Congress, I have been glad to protect their rights and have worked with them to preserve our natural resources for future generations.
SPORTSMEN’S ECONOMIC IMPACT
According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Mississippi is home to over half a million hunters and anglers. These sportsmen spend $863 million annually in Mississippi, which breaks down to $2.3 million per day. This revenue has helped create and maintain over 17,000 jobs in our state. To put this in perspective, sportsmen in Mississippi support more jobs than Northrop Grumman and Nissan, two of the state’s largest employers.
In addition to providing a strong economic boost to our state, sportsmen also play a leading role in funding the state agency that works to protect and enhance Mississippi’s outdoor opportunities. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) relies heavily on sportsmen. Unlike other state departments that receive most of their funding through taxes paid by the general public, 41 percent of the MDWFP’s budget comes directly from hunters and anglers.
PROTECTING SPORTSMEN’S RIGHTS
I have worked hard in Congress to protect the rights of sportsmen, including our most important right: the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment provides individual Americans with the constitutional right to own and possess firearms, something I believe our founding fathers made clear. Earlier this year, in an effort to protect the Second Amendment, I joined a number of my colleagues in signing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, urging the justices to overturn the Washington, D.C. gun ban. I was glad to see the court strike down the ban in June. This ruling was a big victory for sportsmen and gun owners, and it provided law-abiding citizens across the country clear guidance on our Second Amendment rights.
I am also a member of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus on Capitol Hill. Our caucus has consistently looked out for the interests of sportsmen and has helped safeguard their ability to enjoy and preserve the great outdoors.
CONSERVATION FOR THE FUTURE
One hundred years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt, our first and greatest conservation president, said: “This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.” I agree with that sentiment and have always tried to work in support of it in Congress, especially as it pertains to Mississippi’s outdoors.
Just as President Roosevelt worked to ensure our national treasures would be available for our generation, we must continue working now to ensure that our beautiful outdoors are protected and strengthened for centuries to come.