In the early 1900s, some brilliant minds realized that big game populations in the United States needed a steady stream of funds, along with hunting/fishing/trapping seasons and regulations, to sustain their future. In 1937 the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act became law. Without a doubt, this has been the most influential piece of legislation for wildlife. The law implemented an excise tax of ten percent on handguns and an eleven percent tax on other firearms, shells, cartridges, firearm parts and accessories, and archery equipment. These taxes are set aside and handed out across all fifty states by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the following areas:
- Program administration
- Traditional multistate conservation grants
- “R3” (“Recruit, Retain, Reactivate) multistate grants
- Enhanced hunter education and safety grants
- Basic hunter education and safety grants
- Wildlife restoration grants
H.R. 8167 was recently introduced stating the Pittman-Robertson act is an infringement due to the government taxing people. If passed, nearly all of the existing excise taxes would be removed. Even more concerning is that the bill has 53 co-sponsors. I’m quite certain that most people are in favor of fewer taxes however the beauty of the Pittman-Robertson Act is if you don’t want to pay the tax then simply don’t buy any of the products. Additionally, in 2021 alone 1.5 billion dollars was raised for conservation. Once again this is the biggest win for wildlife in the world and the fact that anyone would even consider repealing it is a tremendous cause for concern.
If you value wildlife and wild places filled with animals definitely reach out to your Representatives. It’s needed now more than ever!