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Pittman-Robertson Act Repealed?

If you’ve never read a thing I wrote, make this the one, as this topic should strike a chord with you if you consider yourself an outdoorsman.

The news about a new bill just introduced this week literally made me sick. You hear me talking about the future of hunting and fishing often and this is going to directly inhibit that in a very real way if passed. I get it, it’s not sexy, won’t draw a lot of likes or shares, but I don’t take the time to do these write ups for that…it’s important to me to my core.

A Republican Representative from Georgia (yes, you read that right), has called the 85-year-old Pittman-Robertson Act “an attack on Second Amendment rights.” Taxes right?! Gotta be bad, we pay enough taxes, to hell with this act. But not so fast, there’s more to this story than the headline will lead you to believe.

For those of you unfamiliar with what this is, here’s a brief history lesson. (Now, I want you to read this and figure out how ANY part of it infringes on our second amendment rights.) Also known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, but popularly known as the Pittman–Robertson Act, was approved by Congress in 1937 and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The act provides funding for the selection, restoration, and improvement of wildlife habitat and for wildlife management research. The act was amended in 1970 to include funding for hunter education programs and for the development and operation of public target ranges.

Funds for the act come from an 11% federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment, as well as a 10% tax on handguns. One-half of the excise tax on handguns and archery equipment is used for hunter education and target ranges. These funds are collected from the manufacturers and are distributed each year to the states and territorial areas by the Department of the Interior.

Now, if you read all that, you have to be thinking, “What part is a direct attack on our second amendment right?” If you can’t find one, that’s because there isn’t one. Look, I know the gun culture loves to point at the left and usually rightfully so, but this is pure lunacy from the right.

What Congressman Andrew Clyde has done is try to pander to his “right-wing supporters”, in hopes of rallying the masses, grabbing the pitchforks and showing the democrats once and for all. But sadly, he forgot to do his homework as to all the good this act does.

Look, I’m all for paying less in taxes, but this is one I’ll gladly pay and support, because I know my dollars are actually going to work toward something I love. My kids and my kids’ kids will benefit from the dollars spent in the outdoor and shooting sports community long after I’m gone because of the funding this act guarantees.

What worries me the most is how most of the hunting and outdoor industry just lets something like this slide with little to no coverage. Like, believe it or not,  this could fundamentally change the future of hunting and fishing in a very negative way, yet, silence from most. They don’t see it now, because many of the executives, C-level positions and boards who oversee these companies, simply don’t care. They’re worried about if their retirement is going to be big enough to afford that play-ranch in Wyoming or summer house on Lake of The Woods.

No, these companies, their pro-staff and influencers are far too busy on social media making trendy reels that make a difference on next quarter’s earnings forecast, right? Camo, firearm, optics, fishing and archery companies lining up their next personalities promo codes to pass off to you…the consumer. Those same companies and magazines subtly bickering about each other, taking shots at each other all while claiming how “they’re different”, but the reality is they’re all the same. Or the mega-influencers, posting content for clicks/views/likes for their own egos/business and keeping their placement atop brands payrolls and free-hunt lists for “content.”

Instead of doing something for the attention of a famous outdoor celebrity/company and tagging them, take a minute to email your state representatives and senators. While having a Cameron Hanes, Joe Rogan, or your favorite gear company reshare your IG story for 24 hours is cool, a response from someone who has the power to vote on a bill like this is a hell of a lot more meaningful. You literally voted to put them in office, and they work for you, so get involved. Your favorite brand or hunting/fishing influencer or huntress DOES NOT care about your ability to hunt and fish in the future.

Believe me, this bill is purely a political chess move, he even said so in his speech when he introduced it — calling on his democratic colleagues to pay attention. If he thinks he’s going to rally the republicans around him to fight the recent gun-control measures by the left and going after this, he’s not as smart as a lot of voters thought he was. The left doesn’t like you just as much as the right. Politics shows no favorites and the only winners are usually the politicians themselves. We, John Q Public, are stuck taking most of the L’s.

I care too much to not say anything and if you read all this, I appreciate it. Even if one person acts or gets educated on the matter, it was worth it. I am no one compared to who the outdoor industry chooses to invest in, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone willing to do more. I’m just a dad who wants the best for my kid’s future in the outdoors.

I took the above photo years ago, and was the perfect one to get my point across. Moments like this don’t happen in the not-so-distant future if we continue the trajectory we are on. Your voice Matters.

Photo and article by Adam Bender

About Adam Bender

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  1. Brandon Wynn.

    When I heard about this the other day I couldn’t believe it. Over 50 cosponsors. Mind boggling. Rep Matt Rosendale from MT is one of the cosponsors.

  2. Politicians haven’t worked for the COMMON man/public in 50+ years!

  3. Denny C. Behrens

    Adam: what is the Bill number?

  4. All that….. yet you neglected to give us the name or number of the bill!!🙄🙄

  5. Sorry, but couldn’t care less. I see no evidence that a penny of this money has ever benefitted me as an outdoorsman living in the west. Looks to me like more sportsman-funded, make work jobs that accomplish nothing. And I’m fed up with the general public freeriding on sportsmans’ dollars. Even after the COVID moneytree bloomed last year, our national parks and national forests are completely underfunded BY THE PUBLIC. They can’t even fund garbage cans for our nearby Uintas.

    • Mark, National parks and national forests do not receive Pitman-Robertson funds. Pitman-Robertson funds are mainly used to manage wildlife and wildlife habitat. P-R funds are also used to provide public access to wildlife resources, Hunter Education, and development and management of shooting ranges. The money is distributed to state wildlife agencies and the USFWS. States have to match the funds (usually with hunting license fees). The majority of this money is spent on managing wildlife hunting opportunities. Getting rid of the Pitman-Robertson act would be a huge win for anti-hunters. They have long worked to get rid of the current model of hunters paying for wildlife management. If you want hunting opportunities to persist in the future the P-R act is a crucial part of that.
      P.S. – I live on the North slope of the Uintas. I know guys that work for for the Forest Service. Unfortunately the Forest Service is very underfunded and they cannot keep up with the growing recreation demands from the huge and building population of people on the Wasatch Front.

      • Harrie Dennison

        Well stated Jeff. Log in to Howl for Wildlife to send their well written response to your local Congressional representative.
        This bill must be stopped!

  6. Why can’t we sportsmen continue to fund the same things the PR act does via a federal tax on hunting/fishing licenses across the US? We could still foot the bill (maintaining our presence/importance to conservation) while not requiring Joe gun enthusiast to pay a tax for enjoying his second amendment rights.

    The reality is that a huge chunk of the funds come from non-sportsmen, and if we were to foot the bill as I mentioned above we’d probably end up paying NR level fees for our in state tags/licenses to cover it… We want the benefits of these funds giving us a seat at the table so to speak in wildlife management, while letting other users of guns foot much if not the majority of the bill. It’s been great requiring other folks to contribute, but why not put our money where our mouth is and contribute all the funds and have an even bigger voice/seat at the table?

  7. the Dems will just put the money in their pockets
    like nancy’s jet to california

  8. I’m very disappointed with several of my fellow sportsman’s replies here, and it definitely exposes a severe ignorance! We, the sportsman of each state, would incur a significant financial burden that would lead to nothing less than the immediate neglect of our most prized infrastructure– we would not be able to keep it up! Have we forgotten how many non hunters there are who still enjoy outdoors recreation? If we can’t even recite correctly where these tax dollars go in our community, how could we possibly have the organization and proficiency to simply ”make it up” before (or even after) that neglect manifests itself? Even if we wanted to repurpose the tax, to ensure it had the greatest impact to conservation possible, now is not the time! There are too many weighted issues politically relevant to allow adequate and unbiased oversight, at the moment. The point is–government corruption or not, if we lose this funding for conservation now, we may never get it back!


  10. Thanks for the information Adam.

    I just wrote our MT Rep Rosendale. MT gets about 10% of its annual Fish Wildlife and Parks budget from the PRA funding over 150 shooting ranges across the state received PRA funding. Both the NRA and the NSSF DO NOT support the repeal. Take the time to learn and support what we all love.

  11. The bill has 58 co-sponsors and they are ALL Republicans! If you want more details (like all the sponsors) check out them at outdoornews.com (Minnesota) “U.S. House bill would eliminate Pittman-Robertson Act”. This is a bad bill and needs to die a swift death!

  12. Andrew Clyde owns two guns stores but obviously is not an outdoorsman, hunter, or fisherman. I live in Northern Colorado now but am embarrassed by this from a member of my home state.

  13. Original cosponsors include: Representatives Brian Babin (TX-36), Jim Banks (IN-03), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Mike Bost (IL-12), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Buddy Carter (GA-01), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Michael Cloud (TX-27), James Comer (KY-01), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Pat Fallon (TX-04), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Bob Good (VA-05), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Sam Graves (MO-06), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Glenn Grothman (WI06), Andy Harris (MD-01), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Jody Hice (GA-10), Clay Higgins (LA-03), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Trent Kelly (MS-01), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Brian Mast (FL-18), Mary Miller (IL-15), Barry Moore (AL-02), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Troy Nehls (TX-22), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Scott Perry (PA-04), Matt Rosendale (MT-At-Large), Chip Roy (TX-21), John Rutherford (FL-04), Jason Smith (MO-08), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Greg Steube (FL-17), Van Taylor (TX-03), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Joe Wilson (SC-02), and Randy Weber (TX-14).

  14. John p Simmons

    Montana’s At Large representative Matt. Rosendale probably hasn’t studied this issue he doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the public’s wants or needs, just the Party. We should vote him out this fall.

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