The ripple effects from such tremendous growth are many. Among the biggest is the benefit for the nation’s wildlife and wild landscapes.
“Wildlife conservation is the real winner here, as we increased federal tax payments by 108 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 145 percent and state business taxes by 106 percent,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) president and chief executive officer.
The Pittman-Robertson Act, officially called the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, was originally passed and then signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. It places an 11 percent excise tax on firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, parts and accessories. The funds, generated by hunters and recreational shooters, do not go to the U.S. Treasury. Instead, they are given to the Secretary of the Interior with the specific and designated purpose to distribute them to each state wildlife agency based on the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.
Hunters also generate $796 million annually for conservation efforts by purchasing state licenses and fees. They add an additional $440 million a year for conservation by making donations to groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Pittman-Robertson funds help state agencies introduce and manage wildlife species, conduct research, enhance habitat, acquire and lease land, conduct hunter education programs, develop access facilities for public use, build and operate public shooting ranges, and improve public access.
To date, the tax has raised more than $8 billion to help fund on-the-ground conservation efforts. The NSSF report indicates recreational and shooters generated excise taxes to the tune of $864 million in 2014.
The bottom-line impact of the firearms and ammo industry on America’s job market is also substantial. The total number of full-time jobs* directly linked to the industry rose from about 166,000 to more than 263,000. If you do the math, that is a 58 percent increase.
"In our nation's economic recovery since that year (2008), our industry has been a standout, increasing our direct workforce by 78 percent, adding jobs that pay an average of more than $52,000 in wages and benefits,” added Sanetti.
It is also interesting to note that despite the increase in demand for firearms and ammunition, both the criminal and accidental misuses of firearms continue to decline.
*These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as those that depend on sales to workers in the firearms and ammunition industry.