The Outdoors industry pumps $1.5B into conservation

Michael R Crites

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USFWS image Waterfowl hunting at Swanquarter Refuge

Back in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act saddled the American gun industry with an excise tax on new-made and imported firearms and ammunition.

This ranges from 10-to-11 percent and only applies to items for the consumer market (police and government pipeline products don’t have to pay the tax, nor do NFA items like suppressors).

The companies blend these taxes into the suggested retail of the guns and ammo, so the public really doesn’t notice them. These funds are then collected by the feds, who keep about 1 percent for administration costs, and each year “made available” to state conservation agencies (who must apply for those dollars for specific projects and match them at a rate of 25 percent with local ones) to pay for things like outdoor recreational opportunities, wildlife and habitat preservation, hunter education and public shooting ranges.

Well, since 2021 was the most bonkers year on record for gun and ammo sales, it makes sense that the Pittman-Robertson funds derived for that year would be lit.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced a record $1.15 billion in annual funding through the Wildlife Restoration Program. State-by-state listings can be found here

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