Record gun sales good for wildlife

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

For the last two years, we’ve talked about how gun sales are surging all over the country. Americans are buying guns and ammunition, so much so that it’s impossible for gun makers to keep up.

I mean, it’s pretty bad when gun stores are shutting down in part because of the incredible demand for firearms.

It’s weird.

Yet those gun sales are creating great benefits for one place many anti-gun activists would never think of. Wildlife is shaping up to be the big winner here.

Tax receipts from surging gun and ammunition sales in the U.S. boosted money for a federal conservation program to a record level in 2022, officials announced Friday.

Excise taxes on guns, ammunition and archery equipment brought in $1.1 billion for federal grants to states for wildlife conservation and hunter education, said officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A related program for fish restoration brought in almost $400 million, from taxes on fishing equipment and boat fuel, they said.

The money for the wildlife program rose by more than 60 percent over last year and shattered the previous high of $808 million in 2015, according to figures provided by Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Laury Marshall.

Oh, that’s awful except, well, it’s not.

Those grants for conservation are going to benefit all kinds of wildlife, particularly game animals, but the entire ecosystem will ultimately benefit from all those gun sales.

More importantly, no one is upset by this.

See, at one time, gun sales were primarily driven by hunters. They definitely had no issue with the tax because it ultimately benefitted them as those conservation programs protected the game they were likely hunting, making sure there would be hunting for generations to come.

Now, though, most gun sales are driven by self-defense. You’d think people would be upset about a conservation tax when they’re not hunters. Only, it’s not really a thing.

That’s because, contrary to what anti-Second Amendment types might claim, we’re not all a bunch of heartless bastards. A lot of us still hunt, but many more don’t. They just don’t mind a small tax that actually does what it’s purported to do.

Yet if these same people get their way, one of the second-order effects would be a reduction in money for conservation programs.

They say they won’t come after hunting weapons, but if that’s true then all they’ll do is make it so there won’t be as much in the way of money for conservation efforts, making it less likely there will be anything to hunt in the first place.

Whoops.

Of course, the upside is that we know their conservation ideas will eventually be to ban “sniper rifles”–or use some other term for hunting weapons–and make it impossible to hunt lawfully at all.

That’ll create all kinds of problems in and of itself, of course, but so does gun control, so what do they care?

Personally, I’m glad to see so much money go into conservation. That’s going to be a big win. Possibly causing exploding heads among the PETA/anti-hunting crowd? Oh, that’s just a huge bonus.