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Quarterly firearm and ammunition excise taxes up 43%

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation

-- During a time period of great economic uncertainty, firearm and ammunition sales have continued to increase throughout the country.

According to the most recent Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax Collection Report, released July 31 by the Department of the Treasury, firearm and ammunition manufacturers paid more than $109.8 million in the first calendar quarter of 2009, up 43% over the same time period reported in 2008.

This dramatic increase follows a 31.3 percent increase in excise taxes from the previous quarter (4Q, 2008) and eight straight months of increased FBI background checks – another strong indicator of firearm sales.

A third reliable source, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), reported that in 2008, Hunting and Firearms equipment was the only category to grow double digits and only one of seven categories that exhibited growth. NSGA’s forecast for 2009 shows Hunting and Firearms as one of only two categories to exhibit growth.

Manufacturers of firearms and ammunition pay a federal excise tax – a major source of wildlife conservation funding – on all firearms and ammunition manufactured (11% on long guns and ammunition and 10% on handguns).

This latest excise tax report which covers the time period of January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2009, shows that $33.0 million was collected in taxes for pistols and revolvers, $38.9 million for long guns and $37.8 million for ammunition. Compared to the same quarter in 2008, collections were up 65.5% for handguns, 42.9% for ammunition and 28.3% for long guns.

Translation to sales

Using the latest collections as an indicator of sales, a projection of $1.03 billion was generated in the first quarter (calendar year) of 2009. Please keep in mind that although excise taxes are one of the best indicators of industry performance, they only report what the manufacturers paid in taxes and do NOT reflect retail mark-up and final retail sales.

Pistols and revolvers: $33,043,554.83 / .10 = $330,435,548.30 = $330.4 million for handguns

Long guns: $38,979,972.16 / .11 = $354,363,383.27 = $354.3 million for long guns

Ammunition: $37,846,038.52 / .11 = $344,054,895.64 = $344.0 million for ammunition

Total estimation for the quarter: $1.028 billion

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