Why it matters: To date, the Pittman-Robertson Act has generated over $15 billion in critical funding to conserve wildlife, improve recreational shooting and hunting access, fund hunting education programs, and other programs that are vital to our hunting and recreational shooting heritage. Just last year alone, the Pittman-Robertson Act provided over $1.5 billion in on-the-ground funding for state wildlife agencies to build public target shooting ranges, purchase wildlife management areas to increase public hunting opportunities, conserve game species, and to recruit America’s next generation of sportsmen and women. This legislation threatens to dismantle the current funding structure.
On June 22, a bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA) that would dismantle the most important and significant wildlife conservation funding program in the nation – the Pittman-Robertson Act – an effort that is categorically opposed by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
Enacted in 1937 at the request of hunters and the manufacturers of firearms and ammunition, the Pittman-Robertson Act directs industry and user-supported excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes and programs to increase access for hunting and target shooting. The Pittman-Robertson Act is one of three pillars of the American System of Conservation Funding, a “user-pays, public-benefits” structure that is unique to the rest of the world, in which those that consumptively use public resources pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right, to do so. Unfortunately, H.R. 8167 ignores the value of this program, and seeks to disregard the input of the very industries and users who pay this critical funding as well as who overwhelmingly support the program.
By ignoring the wide-spread industry and user support for excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment, including the support of the very manufacturers who pay these excise taxes, H.R. 8167 severely threatens America’s hunting and recreational shooting heritage. With this in mind, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is actively opposing this legislation and urging Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to oppose this legislation. CSF is unwavering in our opposition to this bill. In May, CSF helped lead a letter that was signed by 43 of the top hunting and recreational shooting organizations in strong support of the Pittman-Robertson Act in its current form.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to oppose H.R. 8167 and other efforts that seek to undermine our hunting and recreational shooting heritage.
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?