Despite Sluggish Economy, U.S. Gun, Ammo Sales Defy Gravity

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posted on May 8, 2014
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The most recent Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET) Collection report released April 30 indicates that firearm and ammunition manufacturers reported tax liabilities of $213.5 million in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013, which reflects a 22.0 percent increase over the same time period reported in 2012. The 2013 annual FAET collections (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) totaled $863,696,528, making it the largest amount in any year on record to date, surpassing the previous record (set in 2012) of $643,915,884 by an impressive 34.1 percent.

Excise taxes on firearms and ammo sales collected under the 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (also known as Pittman-Roberston) are paid quarterly by firearms and ammunition manufacturers, and earmarked for state wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, hunter education, shooting ranges and other programs. The 10-percent tax paid on sales of pistols and revolvers and 11 percent paid on long guns and ammunition is the most accurate barometer of the sector's performance. Since 2000, Pittman-Robertson has generated more than $3 billion.

The report released by the U.S. by the Department of the Treasury last week, covering Oct. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013, indicates that $57.4 million was due in taxes for Pistols and Revolvers, $67.1 million for Firearms (other)/ Long Guns and $89.0 million for Ammunition (shells and cartridges).  Compared to the Oct. to Dec. quarter 2012, tax obligations were up 11.8 percent for Pistols and Revolvers, up 0.6 percent for Firearms (other)/ Long Guns and up 56.3 percent for Ammunition (shells and cartridges).

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry's primary trade association, the projected total firearm and ammo sales in dollars for the fourth quarter of 2013 utilizing the reported tax liabilities were a fraction below $2 billion.

- Pistols and revolvers: $57,435,759.13 / .10 = $574,357,591.30 = $574.4 million for pistols and revolvers

- Firearms (other)/Long guns: $67,065,027.82 / .11 = $609,682,071.10 = $609.7 million for firearms (other)/long guns

- Ammunition (shells & cartridges): $89,000,607.80 / .11 = $809,096,434.50 = $809.1 million for ammunition (shells & cartridges)

- Total estimation of sales for the quarter: $1,993,136,096.90

The estimates do not reflect late-filed or amended tax returns that may be filed and could increase or decrease the tax liability for the fourth quarter of 2013.

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