Taxes on Gun Sales to Support Wildlife, and More from CRS

03.18.13 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

In the wake of recent gun-related violence, and in anticipation of potential new restrictions on gun ownership, there has been a sharp increase in sales of guns and ammunition.  That is bad news for gun control advocates, but it turns out to be good news for wildlife, at least in the short term.

“Through an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, such sales have a marked beneficial effect on funding for state wildlife programs,” according to a new Congressional Research Service report.

Gun tax-derived funding for wildlife restoration increased by about $150 million this year, CRS found, to around $413 million, though some of that is subject to sequestration.  “With reports of surges in gun sales over guns rights and gun-related violence, substantially more funds seem likely to be available in FY2014,” the report said.

Game species — animals that can be shot by hunters — “are the primary or direct beneficiaries of the program,” CRS said drily. However, “non-game species, such as native plants, non-game birds, and other species, may benefit incidentally through conservation of the habitats they share with hunted species.”  The twisting tale is told in Guns, Excise Taxes, and Wildlife Restoration, March 12, 2013.

Other new reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has opted to withhold from online release to the public include the following.

A hypothetical (and unlikely) restructuring of national security spending is discussed in A Unified National Security Budget? Issues for Congress, March 14, 2013

The projected impact of sequestration on foreign aid is detailed in The Budget Control Act, Sequestration, and the Foreign Affairs Budget: Background and Possible Impacts, March 13, 2013

Close defense cooperation between the U.S. and New Zealand, which was suspended in the Reagan era due to differences over nuclear policy, has been reestablished and expanded, the CRS says in New Zealand: U.S. Security Cooperation and the U.S. Rebalancing to Asia Strategy, March 8, 2013

Changes to Senate Procedures in the 113th Congress Affecting the Operation of Cloture (S.Res. 15 and S.Res. 16), March 13, 2013

An Overview of the Housing Finance System in the United States, March 13, 2013

Analysis of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, March 11, 2013