The Senate cleared the first procedural hurdle on the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014, which would allow states to assign more federal funding to create and maintain shooting ranges on federal land.
The Senate voted 82 to 12 today to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill.
"This is important because we are currently facing a shortage of public shooting ranges across the country," said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina, who along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is one of the lead sponsors of the bill.
The bill also increases access to federal land for hunting and fishing and allows duck hunters to obtain their federal stamps electronically. It also loosens regulations on lead fishing tackle and ammunition.
While an overwhelming majority of the Senate voted to move ahead with the measure, the two senators from Connecticut, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, whose state was shaken after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said they could not vote for cloture because the measure doesn't address gun violence.
"I can see the legitimate reasons to vote for this bill, but not when this body has failed in its fundamental obligation to make America safer and to rid it of gun violence," Blumenthal said.
The Senate will need to clear two more procedural votes before holding a final vote.