Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010

By:  Paul Ryan
Date: June 29, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the sentiment from my friend and colleague from Wisconsin. We introduced this legislation together. We have 76 cosponsors. It's a very simple issue.

Number one, we have a Pittman-Robertson fund, which is a user-fee for hunting and fishing. If you buy firearms, you buy ammunition, there is an excise tax that is paid which goes to the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund for conservation and habitat management.

As the cochair of the Sportsmen's Caucus here in Congress, the largest bipartisan, bicameral caucus in Congress, our job in the caucus is to make sure that we protect not only hunting and fishing rights, but also hunting and fishing habitat. And there is a snafu in the law here, and that's simply what we are trying to clear up. This is a bill that's fully paid for.

This bill is very, very simple. Most of Pittman-Robertson taxes are collected on a quarterly basis. Unfortunately, though, with respect to ammunition and firearms, it's done on a biweekly basis. That is a huge unnecessary burden for manufacturers. There are lots of small manufacturers, Kolar in Racine, Premium Shotguns, you name it. There are lots of small manufacturers out there, and they don't get the cash flow through their business to be able to pay this excise tax on this biweekly basis. They don't get the money from the retailers in time to cover the tax expenses. And therefore what's happening is we are making these manufacturers, especially the smaller ones, have to go out and get loans in order to pay the excise taxes.

All this simply does is harmonize the tax payments schedule to jibe with the other excise taxes that are paid into the Pittman-Robertson fund to a quarterly basis. That simple.

So let's take away this very burdensome regulation, this very burdensome tax compliance regime on small and large manufacturers of firearms and ammunition, harmonize it with the rest of the Pittman-Robertson excise tax collection system, and make sure that these small businesses, which are really struggling, which are the backbone of the conservation funding system, which are huge providers of jobs and recreation in States like Wisconsin and all throughout America, let's just get this cleaned up. Let's pass it. It's bipartisan. It's paid for. This is one of those issues that's sort of rare these days where we have come together to get something that makes perfect common sense.

I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Davis).

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I simply want to say this is a commonsense solution that ought to be passed. It harmonizes the schedule. It takes a burden off of businesses, and I think the gentleman from California put it well.

Yesterday, we saw a great strike for liberty from the Supreme Court where they reaffirmed the individual's right to keep and bear arms in this country. That is now an issue that has been set by the Supreme Court where individuals have rights in this Nation and that the job of government is to protect our equal, natural rights.

So I think it is very fitting that this, on the day after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the individual's right to keep and bear arms, regardless of where they live in America, as citizens of America, that we ought to help ease this burden on the manufacturers of firearms and of ammunition so that they can get back to the business not of just tax collecting on a biweekly basis but of producing, of selling, of creating jobs, and of getting this country moving again.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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