Who introduced you to hunting/the shooting sports and at what age?
My father introduced me to shooting and hunting when I was in elementary school. A Georgia state trooper, he taught me proper technique and safety precautions as I learned to handle any firearm with respect and caution. My first gun was a pellet rifle, but I soon graduated to a .22 rifle. I now own a wide variety of guns, but my favorite individual handgun is my Glock 43.
What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting activity? With whom?
Last fall, I had a great time hunting quail in South Georgia with some old friends. I shot a 20 gauge over-under shotgun. Quail hunting is always a great way to spend a Saturday, especially when the dogs are working well and the birds are flying.
Describe your favorite shooting sport/hunting activity? Which hunt? Which gun? Where? What species?
My favorite activities include shooting skeet and going to the range to shoot pistols and rifles. Growing up in a State Trooper’s home, I’ve always enjoyed visits to the range and occasionally getting the chance to go through police training runs in a Hogan’s Alley set up.
I take every opportunity to hunt whitetail deer in the fall along with dove and quail. In the spring, I focus on hunting turkey. While I also spend time bowhunting deer, I’ll still take a .270 Winchester or my reliable old .30-06 with me, which I took my first deer with when I was 16. For bird and turkey, I usually shoot a 20 gauge or 12 gauge.
Which piece of pending legislation related to the firearms industry is particularly important to you and why?
Our Second Amendment rights are under more attack in the House now than they have been in years. Democrats have introduced H.R. 8 (which passed the House after this interview), a universal background check bill, which would make it harder for law-abiding people to own or share firearms for sport, even among family members. The bill, however, wouldn’t prevent the kinds of mass violence we’ve seen in recent years, and it doesn’t address the criminals who deal in illegal firearms.
As the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over firearms legislation, I’m working to educate people on evidence-based ways to address mass violence while protecting the Second Amendment. I’m introducing the Mass Violence Prevention (MVP) Act to combat illegal street sales and criminal violence by expanding the tools available to law enforcement and ensuring that sportsmen and honest citizens don’t see their Constitutional rights eroded.
What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts in this congressional session?
The greatest challenge that hunters and shooters have now is overcoming the misconception and falsehoods that come from those who don’t like guns or appreciate hunting. We must be good ambassadors for our sport to show that Americans who enjoy hunting and shooting are responsible citizens with a deep love for the animals we hunt and the lands we walk. This generation of hunters must be willing to help others understand our hunting and shooting heritage so that these traditions can continue for future generations.
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. The National Shooting Sports Foundation thanks Congressman Collins (R-Ga.), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, for agreeing to talk with us. This post was provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.