Elk NetworkSurge in Gun Sales Boosts Conservation Funding

General | November 24, 2020

Conservation funding received a shot in the arm in the final quarter of the 2020 federal fiscal year (October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020) thanks to a big increase in gun sales. More specifically, the sales of pistols and revolvers increased by 23 percent over a year earlier while ammunition sales increased by 22 percent. Firearms sales increased by eight percent.

The downside is sales of archery equipment and arrow shafts fell dramatically.

According to the Wildlife Management Institute, total excise taxes derived from the sales of guns, ammunition and archery ammunition increased by 15 percent from 2019 for a total of $703,611,507. The Pittman-Robertson Act, approved by Congress in 1937, placed an excise tax on the guns and ammunition of hunters, recreational shooters and others with those funds earmarked specifically for nationwide conservation funding. Since that time, P-R funds generated more than $12.5 billion for conservation.

There is also good news on the fishing front. Perhaps linked to a greater desire for more people to get outside and enjoy nature during COVID-related restrictions, sales also increased for fishing equipment and motorboat fuel taxes by a combined 13 percent for a total of $742,723,023. Those funds also benefit conservation.

(Photo source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)