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Something for the Left to Like About the Surge in Gun Sales?

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The surge in gun sales since President Barack Obama's push for more gun control has been bankrolling something many on the left tend to like, which is nature conservation efforts across the country.

Danny Egan (R) helps a customer shop for a handgun at Freddie Bear Sports on June 16, 2014 in Tinley Park, Illinois. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that it is a crime for one person to buy a gun for another while lying to the dealer about who the gun is for. The law had been challenged by retired police officer Bruce Abramski who was charged with making a 'straw purchase' after buying a gun for his uncle, a lawful gun owner, in order to get a police discount at the dealer. When asked on the paperwork if the gun was for him he checked yes. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The little known Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, imposed an excise tax on firearms and ammunition. It was supported at the time by hunters and the gun industry and revenues would be dedicated to protecting species, wildlife habitats, setting up hiking trails, public shooting ranges, and various conservation efforts.

In 2012, the revenue generated from the fund was $371 million. But that nearly doubled over the last two years to $760 million in fiscal year 2014, according to During this time, Obama pushed for stricter gun control laws.

The tax is 11 percent of the wholesale price of long guns and ammunition and 10 percent wholesale price of the each handgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms collects the taxes, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife distributes the revenue to states. The law has generated $8 billion in revenue since its passage.

At the time of the Pittman-Robertson Act's passage, the deer population had dwindled so low that 11 states did away with deer season, while Missouri shortened its season to just three days. Today, Missouri has a deer season of 122 days, according to

The state of North Carolina got $19.9 million from the tax this year, about tipple what it got in 2007. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission state officials told the Raleigh News and Observer that the extra revenue helped pay for parking lots, signs and boundary markers at parks, after state funding cuts.

Brad Gunn, the coordinator of Pittman-Robertson Act money for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said, “Most of it was political concerns that appeared to drive demand. And once demand picked up, it created shortages that seem to just keep feeding on itself.”

He added, “I can assure you it won’t last,” Gunn said. “Unless gun and ammunition issues become an issue in the next presidential race.”


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