Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Live Nerves!

Touched a nerve with my recent post on hunting and shooting funding, didn't I?

First, let me answer an email...no, of course I'm not "anti-hunting!" Exactly the opposite. The shooting sports have the abilty to save hunting, to reverse the losses. Why? It's an equation. Say it takes $1000 to recruit a hunter for "X" years. There are several reasons why that dollar number is high — it's expensive to "cast the net," find the necessary number of potential hunters; there's the huge barrier (and expense) of buying a gun; there's the expense of both hunter safety and hunting specific training program; etc.

Let's say 10% of the excise taxes went specifically to the shooting sports. That still leaves 90% going to hunting-specific programs, including land aquisition and recruitment and retention! But the 10% for the shooting sports, call it $25 million per year, would be a stunning windfall for the shooting sports. Let's say $10 million per year was dedicated to growing the shooting sports, increasing the size of the pie, getting more people to the range. It is much easier and less expensive to get people to the range — in fact, we know how to do that, and we have a lot of experience at it! Once the program was up and running, I'd say the cost to recruit sport shooters would be in the $25-50 region.

If we brought an additional, say, 50,000 people into the shooting sports, every one of those new sport shooters are ideal prospects for the game fields. At much less cost than traditional recruitment and retention programs because they've already learned firearms safety, have the basic training and have purchased or have access to a gun. Plus, hunting mentors don't have to look far for good prospects.

And those larger numbers of new sport shooters MAKE US STRONGER; larger numbers of new shooters make shooting and hunting more "mainstream," one of the key ways to reverse the years of antigun propaganda.

Suppose $1 million a year (less than 1/200 of what WE pay in self-imposed taxes!) was earmarked for prize money. Think that might drive the shooting sports? Suppose we create a "Sport Shooter of the Year," who'll pick up a cool $100,000 and a nice yellow Hummer? Thing that might help us getting our message out?

Suppose a portion of that money went to a full-time newsroom, sending out press releases, advance information, background material on the various shooting sports? Would that get us in the New York Times? Nope...but you would start reading and hearing about shooting sports and local "heroes" in your local papers and media. Think that might drive an increase in new shooters? How do we know these ideas will work? WE'VE TRIED THEM, BETA-TESTED THEM AND SEEN THE RESULTS!

What money is left we use to create and promote a national program for training and a national standards for certifying instructors, augmenting and expanding the excellent NRA program already out there. The new paradigm for instruction would be based on ski/snowbaord instruction — a standardized national package that allows new shooters access to multiple different levels/styles of instruction that are aimed at driving the shooting sports. "I took Class 2 Handgun in Texas, and I'm looking forward to a Class 1 Shotgun class when I move to Iowa..."

Every single thing I've mentioned is already a proven path; concepts already hammered out, tested and waiting for funding. The hell of it is, the money's already there. We pay it; we ALL pay it.

It's a heck of a vision, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

I guess I need a little backround. When and why did these taxes come from in the first place? Who was behind them, and what purpose did they originally preport to be for? This tax seems unusual. I dont believe all pet food is taxed to pay for shelters, equestian sports or anything. *ball equipment isn't taxed to support youth involvement or inner city leagues. Is fishing equipment taxed to stock lakes, buy land to preserve fishing or new fisherman recruitment? What makes shooting unique?

Or, am i totally off base or even more clueless as to this subject?

Overload in Colorado

Michael Bane said...


It is quite literally a unique situation. Here's the Cliff Notes version from http://federalaid.fws.gov/wr/fawr.html

" Funds are derived from an 11 percent Federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment, and a 10 percent tax on handguns. These funds are collected from the manufacturers by the Department of the Treasury and are apportioned each year to the States and Territorial areas (except Puerto Rico) by the Department of the Interior on the basis of formulas set forth in the Act. Funds for hunter education and target ranges are derived from one-half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment.

Each state's apportionment is determined by a formula which considers the total area of the state and the number of licensed hunters in the state. The program is a cost-reimbursement program, where the state covers the full amount of an approved project then applies for reimbursement through Federal Aid for up to 75 percent of the project expenses. The state must provide at least 25 percent of the project costs from a non-federal source."

Sucker's been around since 1937, back when hunting was quite literally the ONLY shooting sport of any consequence! It was revised in the early 1970s to include handguns.

Read the complete law at: http://www.nracentral.com/pittman-robertson-funds.php

You will be STUNNED! We generate TONS of cash every year!


Anonymous said...

NSSF did a survey one time (conducted by Roper starch) which found that among those that had never shot a gun before, in the age range of 18 to 29 years old, 48% would go shooting if invited.

That's incredible. There is huge interest in shooting. Mr. Bane has seen this first hand through the work with the now defunct NSSF media seminars. So why aren't we giving people the chance to try shooting? Why aren't we coordinating open range days on a national scale with ranges opening their doors for free shooting (with instructors of course)for NEW shooters. Back that up with a national or even regional ad campaign - think National Go To the Range Day - and all of a sudden you have people giving it a try.

Instead, we have an industry focused on hunting. It is a lot harder to go hunting than it is to step into the range and pull the trigger for the first time. Isn't that right, Mr. Bane?

When will companies like Glock, S&W, Springfield Armory, Para Ordnance, Sig, Kahr and others that are handgun companies stand up and ask where the money is going? If they don't want their fair share of the pie then they should draw straws to see who should be the first to close their doors.

Anonymous said...

National Go to the Range Day? Kinda makes sense. Crappy name but the idea makes sense. Could be like the one for fishing and hunting every September. Sign me up!

Got Guns, Need Bullets.