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Hunting, shooting contribute to healthy economy, says NSSF

Hunting and shooting contributes billions of dollars to the nation's economy.
Hunting and shooting contributes billions of dollars to the nation's economy.
Dave Workman

The National Shooting Sports Foundation today released a report that may not make gun prohibitionists happy, but tax collectors and economists in several states including Washington just might break out the party favors.

According to the NSSF report, “Economic Impact of Hunting and Target Shooting in America,” American spending by sportsmen and women “results in a total impact of $110 billion annually to the U.S. economy.” Further, the organization said, these expenditures result in a combined tax total (local, state and federal) of more than $15 billion.

People in the firearms industry quietly observe that theirs is the one business arena that the Barack Obama administration would love to see wither on the vine, yet because of the president’s attitude towards guns, business is booming, no pun intended. The NSSF reported that he $48 billion in retail sales “exceed those of Fortune 100 companies like Coca-Cola, Federal Express or Disney.”

The four-page report has a state-by-state breakdown of revenues with figures that include retail sales, the number of jobs provided and the salaries and wages those jobs produce. In Washington, for example, retail sales totaled $551,163,881 and 8,460 jobs were provided in 2011, resulting in salaries and wages totaling approximately $315,602,721, with state and local tax revenues estimated at $61,658,018.

Nationally, shooting and hunting provide more than 866,000 jobs. This figure includes those who work at firearms manufacturing facilities, ammunition producers, clothing and accessory manufacturing, all the way down to clerks at gun shops and sporting goods stores.

“America's hunters and target shooters create one giant economic engine whose hum can be felt throughout our country and by businesses of all sizes,” said Elizabeth Karasmeighan, NSSF Director, Legislative and Policy Research.

Where the NSSF report fails is that it does not touch on another benefit to the states from hunting and shooting. That’s the federal funding that comes from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the form of annual state apportionments from the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program. This comes from special federal excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition and accessories, and the money goes directly to state natural resource and/or fish and game agencies.

Some of this can be found in another NSSF report, the 16-page “Hunting in America.” According to this document, “As of 2012, hunters and target shooters have paid more than $7.2 billion in excise taxes through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act since its passage in 1937.”