March 2, 2020

Connecticut: Bill Poses to Implement 35% Excise Tax on Ammunition to Fund Gun Violence Prevention

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

On February 27, the Connecticut Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding convened for a hearing on House Bill 5040 (HB 5040) – legislation that would establish a staggering 35% excise tax on ammunition and direct it towards gun violence prevention and reduction efforts. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted written testimony in staunch opposition to this bill, citing the crucial role that Connecticut’s sportsmen and women play towards the state’s conservation funding program and the money that will consequentially be lost, and the unjust target that this bill places on the sporting community.

Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user-pays, public-benefits” structure, Connecticut’s sportsmen and women generated over $15 million dollars for conservation during 2019. These funds were generated through license sales and excise taxes on sporting-related goods, which includes ammunition. These revenues provide the funding necessary for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to effectively carry out its mission of conserving Connecticut’s fish and wildlife.

Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, ammunition is already subjected to an 11% excise tax, as per the Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax. Recognizing the significance of further contributions towards the continued protection and success of each respective state’s fish and wildlife, sportsmen and women voluntarily instituted the 11% excise tax. Cloaked as an attempt to increase funding for gun violence prevention, HB 5040 would tack on an additional 35% tax onto ammunition, in an obvious attempt to thwart sportsmen and women from purchasing and utilizing ammunition, penalizing those who wish to practice their Constitutional right. The resulting increase in price will stymie purchasing behavior and negatively affect the conservation funding from which all Connecticut residents benefit.

CSF stands firm in opposing anti-sportsmen legislation, such as HB 5040, and will continue to dedicate itself toward protecting and advancing hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping across the nation.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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