MASSACRES: THEIR FINANCIAL CONNECTION TO HUNTING

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

By Anne Muller

The financial link between firearms violence against animals during hunting and firearms violence against people is largely unknown.

EVERY FIREARM PURCHASED, EVERY BULLET OR SHOT THAT ENDS UP KILLING OR WOUNDING EITHER A NON-HUMAN ANIMAL OR HUMAN PAYS INTO FEDERAL AND STATE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AGENCIES TO PROMOTE MORE HUNTING.

It’s easy to understand this self-serving division of federal and state government, if you…
THINK OF HUNTING AS THE USE OF FIRE ARMS AND AMMUNITION.

THINK OF THE ANIMALS AS THE MEANS TO THE END OF GENERATING MORE FIRE ARMS OR AMMO PURCHASES.
THINK OF HUMANS WHO ARE KILLED OR WOUNDED BY BULLETS AS COLLATERALDAMAGE (AND ADDITIONAL INCOME).
HOW DOES FIREARMS ECONOMY WORK?

Excise taxes on fire arms and ammunition are collected at the point of import or manufacture, and transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). There’s a 10% excise tax on hand guns and an 11% excise tax on other fire arms and all ammunition. Weapons and ammunition used by police and military are exempt from the excise tax. The tax was enacted in the 1930s and is called the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, or P-R Act for short. It goes this way: The FWS keeps 8% of the P-R tax collected for its own administration, and the rest is apportioned to the states for “wildlife restoration” (increasing game species), and other purposes related to firearms use, such as hunter education and shooting ranges. How much a state receives is based on a formula that considers the number of hunting licenses sold by the state and its total land area.

That apportionment formula is considered an equitable solution to the inequity that would otherwise exist if a state sells comparatively fewer hunting licenses due to a low population. In New York, for example, 570,000 licenses are sold, and in Alaska only 90,000 licenses are sold, but Alaska has much more land, so they get a substantial portion of the P-R tax.

You’ll see below a 2017 comparison of the P-R apportionment for New York with a relatively small land area but a high population, and Alaska with a large land area, but a small population. Some of the numbers are rounded off.

NEW YORK
Total population – 20 Million
Total land area – 54,555 sq. mi
Total hunting permits sold 570,000
P-R apportionment $20,300,000
Hunters are 2.85% of the population of NY

ALASKA
Total population < 750,000
Total Land area 663,268 sq. mi
Total hunting licenses sold 90,000
P-R Apportionment $33 million
Hunters are 12% of the population of Alaska

A particularly disturbing, non-transparent aspect of the PR Act is that states must furnish a 25% matching amount to its P-R grant. JUST WHERE THAT MONEY COMES FROM IS A MYSTERY, but it likely comes in some portion from the state’s general fund. (See our article on page 13 titled, “Your Hard-Earned Tax Dollars.”) Furthermore, not even considered by state legislators, a state’s general fund contributes in other ways to what is essentially a private enterprise by paying for the overhead of a wildlife bureau that is in the business of killing wildlife to keep the firearms industry in business.

Although unwittingly contributing to the firearms business, the general non-hunting public has no say in wildlife management (except during the charade of a public hearing held to satisfy an administrative requirement). Funds are controlled by a board whose members must be licensed hunters or trappers, and whose mission is to ensure the continuation of hunting and trapping.

Wildlife management agencies are a self-serving enterprise, a private business ensconced within the government.
Even worse, they siphon general funds without contributing a penny!

Under this arrangement, wildlife managers serve the firearms industry, and the firearms industry contributes to wildlife management agencies. So, who’s left out of this deal? The general public that’s paying for this scheme in many ways
— including with their lives!
Not to be cynical, of course the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was based on the assumption that firearms and ammunition are used to kill animals. But it didn’t distinguish between use of firearms against people, animals, or inanimate objects. The New York Times reported that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33,000 people are killed annually and more than double that number are seriously injured every year by firearms and ammunition https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/us/gun-death-rates.html. They did not include the fact that the excise taxes pay to create more hunting opportunity – or more use of firearms!

CONSIDER AGAIN WHAT THAT MEANS. IT MEANS THAT HUMANS ARE MERE COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE QUEST FOR FIREARMS EXCISE TAXES FOR WILDLIFE “RESTORATION” NEEDED FOR THE CONTINUATION OF HUNTING BY THE STATES. AFTER ALL, HOW CAN YOU DECIMATE ANIMAL POPULATIONS AND NOT REBUILD THEM FOR HUNTERS FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR’S INCOME?

Restoration involves projects that alter wildlife habitat to maximize food for “game species,” as well as reproductive biology tricks, such as having hunters kill males, thus leaving more food for females who, with more nourishment, will be more likely to give birth to twins and triplets.

Sadly, reports of the recent spate of school massacres have not followed the money. The excise taxes collected on AR-15s or AK-47s, handguns, and other firearms, have PAID INTO WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AGENCIES TO CREATE MORE USE OF THOSE WEAPONS, presumably against animals, though some states do not allow their use for hunting.

Viewed economically, regulated hunting is a self-serving economy that consists of “game” managers using our wildlife to serve the firearms industry via hunting (with humans as collateral damage).

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? GOVERNMENT WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AGENCIES NEED TO GET OUT OF THE FIREARMS BUSINESS. FEDERAL AND STATE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AGENCIES MUST END THEIR DEPENDENCY ON FIREARMS MONEY. UNTIL THAT HAPPENS, EXCISE TAXES ON FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION MUST BE USED FOR VICTIMS OF FIREARMS CRIME AND THEIR FAMILIES. THE BOARDS CONTROLLING THE MONEY MUST BE DEMOCRATIZED TO INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC. AFTER ALL, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF OUR TAXES ARE BEING USED TO KEEP THE FIREARMS INDUSTRY IN THE BLACK BY KILLING ANIMALS FOR SPORT, WHILE ADDITIONALLY PROFITING FROM THE USE OF FIREARMS AGAINST HUMANS.
Journalists need to FOLLOW THE MONEY!!
————————–
Anne Muller, Editor, C.A.S.H. Courier, a publication of the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting.
www.abolishsporthunting.org.
Contact Anne at wildwatch@verizon.net

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