Research Lunch Series: 10/13/2021
The Glasscock Research Lunch Series is an occasional series which provides the opportunity for students, faculty, research groups, and others to gather in conversation about various humanities-related topics and promote humanities-oriented research.
If you are interested in hosting a Research Lunch at the Glasscock Center, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | 1:30-2:30 PM
In GLAS 311 & streaming on Zoom
Meeting ID: 965 3643 3320
“Users Pay? Hunting, Guns, and the Shifting Political Economy of Conservation”
Elizabeth A. Carlino, Ph.D. candidate, Geography & Dr. John Patrick Casellas Connors, Assistant Professor, Geography
The Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 established the allocation of a tax on firearms and ammunition, which is put into a fund managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for hunter education and conservation activities. These funds are a substantial portion of the overall expenditures by FWS, and a large portion are distributed to state wildlife agencies for conservation and restoration programs. In recent years, Pittman-Robertson funds have increased substantially due to increasing gun production and sales in the United States. In 2020 alone, FWS distributed $750 million collected through these excise taxes to state fish and game agencies. This source of revenue has begun to exceed money generated from hunting licenses in many states. As revenue from excise taxes on guns plays an outsized role in wildlife management, this raises questions about the ethics and sustainability of the relationship between conservation, hunting, and guns. Lobbyists representing gun producers and sport shooting organizations have increasingly supported efforts to “modernize” the Pittman-Robertson Act to both expand the tax base and allow for wider uses of funds which would directly support the expansion of shooting sports. We examined documents from an array of conservation, hunting, sport shooting, and gun rights organizations to understand the shifting discourse surrounding guns and conservation and discern how guns—not just hunting—shape environmental politics. In this talk we will highlight the shifting sources of revenue for wildlife agencies and present the results of our discourse analysis. Finally, we will discuss the implications for conservation policy.