Thanks to an 82-year-old law — the Pittman-Robertson Act — Americans pay an excise tax on every firearm and round of ammunition purchased. Buyers of handguns pay 10% while long guns and ammunition carry an 11% lug. As the US Fish & Wildlife Service says, funds collected provide “Federal aid to States for management and restoration of wildlife.”
Since the law was enacted in 1937, the firearms industry — or more accurately, America’s gun owners — have contributed $12.5 billion dollars toward that wildlife conservation fund, no matter what kind of firearm or ammunition they purchased, many of which aren’t designed and will never be used for hunting or other sporting use.
Not all users of guns and ammunition are hunters and not all gun owners want to financially support conservation or mandatory hunter education programs that in some cases carry an anti-gun message. If wildlife conservation and hunter education results in a gun tax, then I have no interest in these programs. I do, however, care about our environment, which is why I voluntarily recycle paper, plastic, aluminum and cardboard.
There are dozens of handguns that are specifically designed for — and overwhelmingly used for — concealed carry and self-defense. These pistols range in retail price from well under $300 for a SCCY CPX and a high of almost $3700 for a Wilson Combat CQB — with many quality self-defense guns selling at retail prices well under $1000 such as a Charter Arms Mag Pug with an MSRP of $410.20 for the double action only model which is very well-suited for personal self-defense. These are most certainly not hunting handguns even by using an overly broad definition of a “hunting handgun”!
What this means is that a single mother, on a limited budget who wants to purchase an inexpensive self-defense gun is being forced to spend an extra $20-$30 to subsidize sport hunting and wildlife conservation. Activities which she will probably not participate in and activities for which an SCCY CPX (or similar handgun) are pretty much useless. Furthermore, that extra $30 could arguably be put to better use buying a few boxes of practice ammunition.