By Don Mallicoat-The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released a major new report documenting the importance of target-shooting activities to the U.S. economy. The report, Target Shooting in America: Millions of Shooters, Billions of Dollars, was released today in conjunction with a press conference at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), the largest trade show of its kind in the world and a showcase for the firearms and ammunition industry.
NSSF, which owns the SHOT Show, is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. The report provides a first-ever look at U.S. target shooting-related expenditures. Also included are state-by-state statistics for the number of target shooters, retail sales, taxes and jobs. The target-shooting report complements the Hunting in America report released by NSSF and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies in March 2013.
The money target shooters spent in 2011 resulted in $23 billion being added to the nation’s economy and supported more than 185,000 jobs nationally. In North Carolina, target shooting-related spending contributed $459,373,038 to the state’s economy and supported 4,460 jobs. “More people target shooting is good news for the industry, and it is equally good news for America’s economy,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. Retail sales related to target shooting account for nearly $10 billion, with rifle and handgun shooting being the leading contributors, followed by shotgun and muzzleloader shooting.
Combining data from Target Shooting in America and Hunting in America shows that target shooters and hunters together poured more than $110 billion into the nation’s economy, fueling more than 866,000 jobs. “Communities and businesses of all sizes benefit from these activities,” said Sanetti. Target shooters ($8.2 billion) and hunters ($8.4 billion) spend near equal amounts on equipment common to both pursuits, such as firearms, ammunition and accessories. Hunters spend more overall than target shooters when factors such as fuel, food, lodging and transportation are included.
Another important benefit to all of this shooting is to wildlife. Let’s remember there is a 10% excise tax on all firearms related items to include guns and ammo provided by the Pittman-Robertson Act. This excise tax is used by both the federal and state agencies for wildlife habitat work as well as for hunter safety training and range development in the states.
Many in the mainstream media lambast the firearms industry for all the “illegal” gun purchases out there. The facts are different. We (as an FFL I include myself in that number) are a highly regulated business and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) has the data to prove it. At NSSF’s 2014 SHOT Show, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released a new report demonstrating the success of federal firearms licensees in complying with federal laws and regulations. ATF reported that during Fiscal Year 2013, the agency conducted compliance inspections of 10,002 licensees and the results show that the licensees are overwhelmingly complying with myriad laws and regulations. Less than one percent, 0.69 percent, of the inspections resulted in a license revocation or a denied renewal. Roughly half of those inspected, 48.73 percent, were found to have no violations, slightly higher than FY 2012 and generally consistent with historical patterns showing a culture of compliance.
The inspection results report also ranks the most frequently cited firearms violations. As in prior years, the violations are predominantly paperwork errors; including not properly completing Section A, F 4473, failure to timely record information in bound record (A&D record), and failure to complete forms as indicated in instructions. As an industry, we are proud of our commitment to compliance and welcome the positive inspections results report.
With small game season starting to wind down, a lot of thoughts are turning to fishing. But don’t forget turkey season in April! And if you are a new hunter and need Hunter Safety training there are some opportunities coming up in February. There is a class at Mars Hill University February 17 – 19, 6 – 9:30 p.m. each evening. The next in our area is March 4 – 6, same times, at Skyland Fire Department. You can register for both online at the Commission’s website, www.ncwildlife.org. Click on the Hunting Tab at the top of the page and in center of the page, under Before the Hunt, click on Hunter Education. These classes normally fill up pretty fast so don’t wait until the last minute.