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Hundreds Of Millions In Tax Revenue From Ammo Sales Pouring Into Government Coffers

Firearm sales since the Sandy Hook school shooting have skyrocketed, and the federal government is raking in tax revenue by the hundreds of millions–$875 million dollars in 2013 alone, to be exact.

According to data provided to Vocativ, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is part of the Treasury, mandates a 10 percent tax on ammo and firearm sales at the level of the manufacturer. Once collected, the funds are sent over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The tax was first implemented in 1937 after Congress decided to pass the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.

The 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook, which left 27 dead, is by no means solely responsible for the jump in weapons’ sales, though it played a strong part in prompting increased pressure for gun-control laws.

This pressure in turn created the perception that firearms may be more difficult to obtain in the future, which spiked demand. Tax receipts in 2013 for ammunition totaled $255 million dollars. This figure is almost twice as much as the 1991 figure for ammunition, handguns and long guns, summed altogether.

However, sales have trended upward since the beginning of the Obama administration.

The tax data is unsurprising, given a marked shortage of ammunition which has prompted national discussion over the past few years. According to American Rifleman, the years 2007 to 2012 saw an increase in ammunition excise tax revenue from $108 to $207 million dollars.

The spike is significant, since the revenue generated from the mid-1990s to 2006 was fairly constant. One theory circulating is that the government is buying up all the ammunition.

In an interview with Alaska Dispatch News early last year, Mike Bazinet, public affairs director with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, put the idea to rest.

“That [theory] is not true,” Bazinet stated. “Government purchases have gone down over last three years.”

Other factors proposed by American Rifleman include a rise in the price of raw materials, the slow process of upgrading old machinery, and the growing popularity of shooting as a sport. Since 2001, the number of women involved with shooting sports has grown by 46.5 percent. Additionally, semiautomatic rifles flying off the shelves appear to be a major driving force in ammunition sales.

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