July 2022 Edition | Volume 76, Issue 7
Published since 1946
House Bill Would Repeal Pittman-Robertson Act
On June 22, Representative Andrew Clyde introduced the RETURN (Repealing Excise Tax on Unalienable Rights Now) Our Constitutional Rights Act (H.R. 8167) that would repeal the federal excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment and reduce the tax on fishing equipment. The Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Acts (also known as the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts) have been in place for nearly a century and provide the majority of funding for state fish and wildlife conservation efforts and are strongly supported by the hunters and anglers who purchase the equipment. The bill would replace the dedicated funding from the Pittman-Robertson Act with annual appropriations from the general Treasury and funds from offshore oil and gas development.
The members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners sent a letter to the leadership of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees in May opposing any efforts to repeal the Pittman-Robertson Act. The groups wrote: “The 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act provides for a “user pays-public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. The Act, which directs an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment, is a primary funding source for state fish and wildlife agencies who utilize the funds to undertake wildlife conservation, provide for hunter and recreational shooter recruitment, public shooting range construction and other activities. Last year alone, these excise taxes generated more than $1 billion in funding to assist state wildlife agencies in fulfilling their missions.
The American System of Conservation Funding, thanks to the financial contributions of firearm, ammo, and archery equipment manufacturers, is widely recognized as the most successful wildlife conservation framework in the world. Recently, it was announced that the revenue generated and distributed by this excise tax eclipsed $15 billion over the lifetime of the program. These user-supported excise taxes, combined with millions in funding generated annually through the purchase of hunting licenses and stamps, clearly demonstrates the long- standing commitment of members of the sporting-conservation community to personally invest in science-based conservation and wildlife management.”