Gun Sale Surge Brings Record Money for Conservation Grants

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Tax receipts from surging gun and ammunition gross sales within the U.S. boosted cash for a federal conservation program to a document degree in 2022, officers introduced Friday.

Excise taxes on weapons, ammunition and archery gear introduced in $1.1 billion to fund federal grants to states for state wildlife conservation and hunter schooling, mentioned officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A associated program for fish restoration introduced in virtually $400 million, from taxes on fishing gear and boat gasoline, they mentioned.

The restoration packages distribute tax cash from searching, capturing and fishing gear to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The taxes resulted from a 1937 regulation that was geared toward stopping the fast decline of many species of fish and different animals early final century by offering a brand new supply of cash for conservation.

Cash for the wildlife program rose by greater than 60% over final yr and shattered the earlier excessive of $808 million in 2015, in keeping with figures offered by Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Laury Marshall.

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The elevated funding comes after at the least 18.5 million firearms have been bought final yr, in keeping with the Nationwide Capturing Sports activities Basis. The gross sales quantity is predicated on the variety of regulation enforcement background checks for gun consumers and is a minimal estimate, mentioned Mark Oliva, the firearm business group’s public affairs director.

There have been a document 21 million background checks in 2020, he mentioned. Ammunition gross sales even have been up sharply through the pandemic, rising by about 30%, Oliva mentioned.

Texas is eligible to obtain probably the most cash from the restoration packages this yr, about $71 million, adopted by Alaska, with about $66 million. The method for deciding every state’s quantity is predicated on its land and water space and the variety of fishing and searching licenses it sells.

States resolve how the cash is used and often match a portion of the grants with their very own funds, which will increase complete spending.

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