Gun Industry Taxes Paid $17 Billion Toward Wildlife Conservation Since 1937

by
posted on June 13, 2024
NSSF gun counter people guns
Photo courtesy of National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) announced in May 2024 that firearm and ammunition manufacturers have paid more than $17 billion in excise tax contributions to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund since its inception in 1937. When adjusted for inflation, the total is more than $27.38 billion. The latest Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET) Collection report released by the Department of the Treasury, covering the 4th quarter calendar year 2023, indicates that firearm and ammunition manufacturers contributed more than $222 million in that three-month period alone.

“The entire firearm and ammunition industry celebrates this milestone that demonstrates our commitment to wildlife conservation for all Americans,” said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi. “The firearm and ammunition industry knows the conservation of wildlife and the habitats in which they thrive are invaluable. They are critical to future generations taking part in hunting and the recreational shooting sports traditions and learning about their vital importance. This manufacturing industry, which produces firearms and ammunition for law-abiding citizens, also produces the funding upon which our wildlife depends and is vital for future generations to enjoy.”

The firearm and ammunition industry added $1 billion in conservation tax contributions in just one year. FAET contributions have totaled more than $1 billion annually for the past three years.

The Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson fund, is funded by excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers on their products, as well as archery equipment manufacturers. The excise tax is set at 11 percent of the wholesale price for long guns and ammunition and 10 percent of the wholesale price for handguns. It is paid by manufacturers and importers and applies to all firearms produced or imported for commercial sales, including recreational shooting, hunting or self-defense. The tax is administered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the Department of the Treasury, which turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

USFWS deposits the Pittman-Robertson revenues into a special account called the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund administered by the USFWS. These funds are made available to states and territories the year following their collection based on a statutory formula.

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