November 15, 2023
Dear Members of Congress,
On behalf of Independent Women’s Voice, I strongly encourage the passage of H.R.6352, the Tax Stamp Revenue Transfer for Wildlife and Recreation Act, introduced by Representatives Blake Moore (R) of Utah and Jared Golden (D) of Maine. Independent Women’s Voice fights for women and their loved ones by effectively expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being.
This bipartisan bill would direct existing suppressor tax-stamp revenue to conservation funding and shorten suppressor application wait times down to 90 days. Suppressors are regulated under the National Firearms Act as Class 3 firearms by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). To possess suppressors, applicants must complete the extensive ATF Form 4 process that includes a background check and paying a $200 tax-stamp fee.
Revenue from ATF Form 4 doesn’t currently support conservation programs. If passed, H.R. 6352 would reallocate about $200 million in tax-stamp revenue to the Pittman-Roberts Act of 1937’s Wildlife Restoration Program. Outdoor Life reports $187 million—including $28 million for public shooting range construction—would go to Pittman-Robertson funds and $33 million would remain with the ATF.
Since 1937, $27 billion has been dispersed to all 50 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux). Over $16 billion has been generated by excise taxes collected on firearms and ammunition purchases under the Pittman-Robertson Act. Adjusted for inflation, this amount totals $25 billion. Combined, these funds support wildlife conservation, habitat restoration, public target shooting ranges, and hunters’ education courses. A historic $1.6 billion haul was raked in last year. Given the success of this, the Tax Foundation dubbed this as a “good excise tax.”
Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, a 10% excise tax is levied on handguns and revolvers while an 11% excise tax is levied on ammunition, archery equipment, and rifles to be paid by manufacturers and importers.
There are 3.1 million lawfully owned suppressors in circulation across 42 states. Forty-one states permit these for hunting. These noise-reducing devices are becoming popular because they improve shooting accuracy, protect hearing, and reduce noise pollution.
A July 2023 American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) letter touted their innumerable benefits, stating, “Thus, suppressors substantially reduce the sound energy transmitted to nearby ears reducing the amount and degree of hearing damage sustained. Because suppressors capture some of the gasses escaping from the barrel they may also reduce the light from gunshots lessening the impact on vision in low light.”
H.R. 6532 would tackle two important issues: bolster conservation funding and encourage responsible firearms ownership.
For all these reasons, we urge members of Congress to work toward the swift passage of the Tax Stamp Revenue Transfer for Wildlife and Recreation Act. IWV thanks Representatives Moore and Golden for their leadership on this issue.
Director, Center for Energy and Conservation
Independent Women’s Voice