The run on guns and ammunition that began with President Obama's election and intensified after the Newtown, Ct., school shooting has created a windfall for state wildlife programs in North Carolina, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Receipts from a federal excise tax that dates back to the Great Depression have soared, pumping millions into wildlife research, game land projects and hunter education in North Carolina and other states. The state got nearly $20 million from the firearms and ammunition tax this year, more than three times as much as it did in 2007.
State wildlife officials say the extra money has made up for cuts in state funding and allowed them to take on new projects, including construction of parking lots, roads, new signs and boundary markers on some of the 2 million acres of game lands managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The excise tax on guns and ammunition dates 1937, when Congress passed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act after its main sponsors. The law was aimed at restoring game and other wildlife and had the strong support of hunters and the firearms industry. Much of the Pittman-Robertson money that has flowed to North Carolina in recent years has gone for projects that directly benefit those who pay the excise tax. The state, which historically operated only one public shooting range, will soon have four – with three more on the way.