April 8, 2024

Kentucky General Assembly Successfully Protects Hunter and Recreational Shooter Privacy

Article Contact: Conner Barker,

Why It Matters: Hunters and recreational shooters are the backbone of the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. Hunting license sales generate significant revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies, and manufacturers pay a self-imposed excise tax on their firearm and ammunition purchases which is then returned to state fish and wildlife agencies, based on a calculation that includes the number of hunting licenses sold in each state, for the purpose of managing fish and wildlife resources. Protecting the privacy of hunters and recreational shooters is paramount to protecting critical conservation funding and supporting hunter and recreational shooter participation.


  • House Bill 357 – the Second Amendment Privacy Act prohibits payment card networks from requiring or incentivizing the use of a Merchant Category Code that distinguishes a firearm retailer from other retailers.
  • Additionally, House Bill 357 prohibits the keeping of any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearms by any person or government organization.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted written testimony to the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protections Committee encouraging Committee Members to support the bill. HB 357 subsequently passed both chambers by large margins and became law without Governor Beshear’s signature.

With the ability to purchase firearms and ammunition at the center of our time-honored traditions, legislation to support sportsmen and women’s financial privacy when purchasing sporting purchases is critical. Without consumer protection, hunters and recreational shooters could be subject to discrimination by financial or anti-sportsmen organizations. The way Merchant Category Codes are currently utilized could also land those that purchase other sporting goods, like tents and backpacks, from a sporting goods store on a firearms registry, as the codes are not specific to the retailer, but to the product being purchased.

This legislation is important for protecting Kentucky’s outdoor heritage as well as the important conservation funding and economic contributions that hunters and recreational shooters provide for the Bluegrass State. In 2023, hunting license sales in Kentucky generated $22.8 million and matching Pittman-Roberton federal funds contributed an additional $20.0 million for state-based conservation. Hunter participation is paramount to the success of Wildlife Restoration funding, and discriminatory financial practices could deter participation which would lead to a decrease in conservation funding. Moreover, hunters in Kentucky support 17,100 jobs, $481,000,000 in salaries and wages, and $76,000,000 in state and local taxes, with a total economic impact of $1,642,000,000.

CSF applauds the National Shooting Sports Foundation and members of the Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus for their leadership on House Bill 357 to protect Kentucky’s hunters and recreational shooters from having their purchases tracked or halted by financial institutions when purchasing firearms and ammunition.

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