The Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act of 2017 passed with unanimous consent in the House Natural Resources Committee this morning during a Full Committee Markup session. Below is the full committee hearing on video:
Under current law, Pittman-Robertson funds use federal excise taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, archery equipment, and licenses to fund wildlife programs across the 50 states and federally for projects and education programs related to hunting, fishing, or shooting sports. A 10% excise tax is collected on wholesale price of pistols and revolvers, while an 11% excise tax is collected for other firearms, shells, or cartridges. According to the committee, total apportionments to the 50 states and U.S. territories from Pittman-Robertson totaled $797,160,652 in Fiscal Year 2018.
How this bill modifies PR funds extends to how funds apportioned to states can be applied to activities or projects related to recruiting or retaining hunters and recreational shooters, also known in the outdoor industry as “R3”: recruitment, retention, and reactivation. (As you know, I’ve written about the dire situation to remedy participation numbers in these activities here at The Resurgent.) Moreover, the bill states that “if a state has not used all of the tax revenues apportioned to it for firearm and bow hunter education and safety program grants, it may use its remaining apportioned funds for the enhancement of hunter recruitment and recreational shooter recruitment.” It could also be used for public relations efforts related to R3. Additionally, a maximum amount of $5 million of revenue from PR funds “shall be available to the Department of the Interior exclusively for making hunter recruitment and recreational shooter recruitment grants that promote a national hunting and shooting sport recruitment program, including related communication and outreach activities.”
Usually government involvement is not recommended, but giving state and federal wildlife agencies roles’ in promoting and sustaining conservation efforts, this can aid the industry in getting more people hunting, fishing, or involved in shooting sports.
This is a glimmer of hope from Congress! Let’s get more people hooked on The Great Outdoors.