U.S. Senate Passes Legislation Important to America’s Gun Industry and Hunters
WASHINGTON, DC –-(AmmoLand.com)- The United States Senate passed a major piece of pro-sportsmen legislation yesterday to help firearm and ammunition manufacturers grow business and help strengthen wildlife conservation funding.
The Senate, by unanimous consent, passed H.R. 5552 the “Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010” or so-called FAET legislation sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member and former Co-Chair Rep. Ron Kind. If signed into law, this legislation will allow firearms and ammunition manufacturers to pay excise taxes quarterly as opposed to the current bi-weekly schedule. The bill passed the U.S. House last month by an overwhelming 412-6 vote.
The firearm and ammunition excise tax is the major revenue source for funding the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund also known as the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund. Last year alone, firearm and ammunition manufacturers contributed approximately 450 million dollars to wildlife conservation, shooting ranges, and hunter education programs through excise tax payments.
“The bi-partisan sportsmen-legislators of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus once again prove that they are the legislative champions for America’s hunters, anglers and gun owners,” said CSF President Jeff Crane.
The CSC made passage of this bill to reform the federal excise tax a legislative priority in the 111th Congress. The effort was supported by a broad coalition of sportsmen and conservation groups, including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), National Rifle Association (NRA), and Safari Club International (SCI).
“This bill strengthens wildlife conservation funding in America,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “By enabling manufacturers to grow their businesses, excise tax receipts will actually grow.”
S.632, companion legislation to Rep. Kind’s original House bill, H.R. 510, was introduced by CSC Senate Co-Chair Sen. Mike Crapo along with current CSC member and former Co-Chair Sen. Max Baucus. This bill was amended by Kind and reintroduced as H.R. 5552 in order to addresses concerns about the budgetary implications of the original legislation and explicitly comply with statutory Pay-Go rules. H.R. 5552 does not add a penny to the deficit or create a new tax while also maintaining the current level of conservation dollars generated by the tax.
“We understood early on the importance of this legislation to not only the gun and ammunition manufacturers, but to all of America’s hunters, anglers and gun owners,” said Baucus. “The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus acted and passage of this bill is a major accomplishment in continuing funding for wildlife conservation.”
“This is one of those rare win-win situations for everyone involved,” explained Crapo. “Switching to a quarterly excise tax payment system would put firearms and ammunition manufacturers on the same system as nearly every other business that collects similar taxes. The frequency of tax payments under current law imposes a burden on the industry; in fact, some manufacturers end up taking out short-term loans to pay the excise taxes, which then results in additional expense and administrative overhead. Money is diverted away from core business areas to finance tax payments, which means fewer funds are available to reinvest and grow business.”
The bi-weekly payment schedule forces many manufacturers to borrow money to ensure on-time payment, and industry members spend thousands of man-hours administering the paperwork to successfully complete the payments — monies that are due long before manufacturers are paid by their customers.