March 18, 2009

Bipartisan Bill Seeks Fairness On Firearms Taxes

Crapo-Baucus legislation could also increase wildlife funds

Washington, DC - Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) of the Senate Finance Committee introduced legislation today to stop a discriminatory tax collection practice affecting the nation's firearms manufacturers. The bill makes it easier to file excise taxes and may result in increased funding for state wildlife programs.

The Firearms Fairness and Affordability Act would reverse the current practice that requires firearms and ammunition manufacturers to pay excise taxes more frequently (every two weeks) than other sporting goods industries. The bill would simplify the process, allowing firearm and ammunition manufacturers to pay the excise tax on a quarterly basis, like all other industries.

"Singling out the firearms industry for tax payments every two weeks is bureaucratic and discriminatory," Crapo said. "Changing to a quarterly excise tax payment system, as is used throughout the rest of the sporting goods industry, will allow firearms manufacturers to reinvest funds into developing new products and marketing efforts. It should provide increased funding for state wildlife preservation programs by easing restrictions surrounding the collection of these taxes. The firearms industry would still pay its full share of taxes, but it would do so in a more equitable manner that is keeping with other business practices."

"This is the right thing to do. It will help cut bureaucratic red tape and help the firearm industry save resources," Baucus said. "I'm an avid supporter of the second amendment. And this will ensure the gun industry is treated fairly."

The firearm and ammunition industry pays a federal excise tax of 11 percent on long guns and ammunition and 10 percent on handguns. The tax is collected by the U.S. Treasury, Tax and Trade Bureau and given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where it is deposited into the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund. The funding helps pay for hunter education programs, wildlife enhancement, and increased access to public lands.

The bill is supported by a variety of organizations including the National Rifle Association. It is also supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Ducks Unlimited, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, Delta Waterfowl, Wildlife Management Institute, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and Archery Trade Association, Pheasants Forever, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.