Two Michigan gun store owners told Breitbart News that Joe Biden’s proposed taxes on firearms and accessories would hurt an already ailing hunting economy in the state.
“I think the hunting economy is already suffering in Michigan,” Ed Swadish, owner of Huron Valley Guns of New Hudson in Oakland County, said, adding that hunting among young people is on the decline.
A coalition of organizations called “Hunting Works for Michigan” reported $2.3 billion is spent annually by hunters in Michigan. The group said 529,000 people hunt in Michigan every year, including 28,000 from out of state.
According to Mlive, as many as 1.2 million Michiganders hunted in the 1990s. By 2018, that was nearly cut in half — less than 675,000 individuals.
“If you add costs to hunting you’re just going to whittle that down even more,” Swadish said.
Breitbart News previously reported that Biden’s proposed gun policy includes a plan to register so-called “assault weapons” like AR-15s under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), which means hunters could be required to register their AR-15s with federal authorities, submit their fingerprints and photographs, potentially submit to an FBI background check, and pay a $200 federal tax on AR-15s they already own, if these owners decide not to participate in any proposed federal buy back program.
Moreover, Biden’s proposal could also apply the same $200 tax and NFA registration requirements to every so-called “high-capacity” magazine a gun owner possesses, if the owner decides not to participate in any proposed buy back program.
The $200 tax on AR-15 rifles alone would impose a collective $3.6 billion in new taxes on the estimated 18 million privately owned AR-15 rifles in the United States.
Biden’s proposed policy does not define how many rounds a “high-capacity” magazine contains, but past gun control legislation like the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban defined it as a capacity of over 10 rounds. Biden himself has criticized the existence of “magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them.”
“The interest in hunting has gone down,” Lisa Mayo, owner of Flashpoint Firearms in Comstock Park, Michigan told Breitbart News.
She predicted Biden’s possible taxes “would make it go down even further.”
Swadish thought the taxes would create a “gray market,” where owners would sell guns among themselves, and avoid retailers, who would likely be responsible for collecting such taxes.
An accelerated decline would also impact wildlife management and conservation.
“Hunting and fishing fees account for more than 90% of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ $42 million wildlife conservation budget,” Mlive reported.
According to Hunting Works for Michigan, hunters pay $289 million in state and local taxes annually, and the pastime supports over 34,400 jobs in the state.
Additionally, hunters spend $1.3 billion on hunting equipment, averaging $4,400 per hunter each year.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube or download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Parler.