Letter signed by over 90 Hunting Works for Minnesota partners outlines the economic impact of a modern sporting rifle ban and magazine capacity restrictions.
Minneapolis—Today Hunting Works for Minnesota, a diverse group of Minnesota businesses, trade organizations, sportsmen and conservation groups, delivered a powerful letter to U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, urging them to consider objective data in light of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 and proposed arbitrary restrictions on magazine/clip capacity. The letter was signed by over 90 partner organizations and businesses.
In the letter, Hunting Works for Minnesota partners cite government and sales data to demonstrate that a ban on modern sporting rifles would curtail local retailers and reduce participation in statewide hunting and shooting sports. Annual spending by Minnesota’s 500,000 hunters generates a ripple effect of $1.3 billion on the state economy, and tax revenue from ammunition sales provides additional revenue for conservation programs through the Pittman-Robertson Act.
Letter signatories include Ron Schara, host of Minnesota Bound; Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association; Bruce Nustad, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association; Cal Brink, executive director of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce; and Greg Larson, owner of Larson’s Hardware in Redwood Falls.
The original letter is available at www.pactransfer.com/HWFA/MN/2013/HWFM_02-20-13.pdf.
For more information about Hunting Works for Minnesota, please visit www.HuntingWorksForMN.com.
[Letter text and signers follow.]
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February 20, 2013
The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
United States Senate
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Al Franken
United States Senate
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Klobuchar and Franken:
Hunting Works for Minnesota is a diverse partnership of businesses, trade organizations, sportsmen and conservation groups from all over the state. We have come together because we recognize our shared investment in a strong hunting economy. Our organizations, which represent thousands of Minnesota’s sportsmen, recreational shooters and the industries they support, are writing to express our sincere hope that the Senate will consider objective data when analyzing measures to address gun violence. This will result in policies that effectively reduce violence while avoiding detrimental impacts to Minnesota’s economy.
Like you, we were devastated by the recent tragedy in Connecticut, and we share your goal of ensuring that actions are taken to prevent similar future acts of senseless violence. For example, we believe an opportunity exists to enact measures that will effectively prevent access to firearms by those not legally qualified to possess them. We also support improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to ensure that all appropriate mental health and other relevant records, such as restraining orders, are entered into the system in every state.
We also believe that a number of the measures currently being proposed, such as bans on modern sporting rifles (MSRs) with certain cosmetic characteristics, or magazines exceeding arbitrary capacity thresholds, will do little more than distract us from addressing the real issues. Further, these measures will also impede our hunting and shooting heritage and the many benefits they deliver to our state’s economy and wildlife.
Recent data shows that among current MSR owners, more than 80 percent have purchased an MSR since 2008, with 45 percent of all purchases occurring at a local independent dealer or retail outlet. Among MSR owners, 73 percent of them purchased accessories, 45 percent spent at least $400 on after-market customization and 67 percent used domestically-produced factory ammunition, with the average number of rounds fired annually exceeding 1,000 – a boon for federal conservation funding via the Pittman-Robertson Act.
Modern sporting rifle sales among hunters and target shooters are growing, particularly with our servicemen and women who are familiar with the reliable, lightweight, accurate and user-friendly platform upon which MSRs are based. Further, the spending power of the average purchaser (over 45 years old, married, with a college degree and household income over $75,000) points to these customers as an integral and expanding base for domestic manufacturers. Companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition, and hunting equipment employ as many as 98,752 people in our country and generate an additional 110,998 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create good jobs in the United States, the industry also contributes to the economy as a whole. In fact, in 2012 the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $31.84 billion in total economic activity in America.
Closer to home, the positive impact of nearly 500,000 hunters on our state economy is realized by businesses and communities across Minnesota. By lodging at local hotels, eating at local restaurants, shopping at local retailers and refueling at local convenience stores, hunters and sportsmen in Minnesota spend over $730 million in trip expenditures and retail sales each year. By practicing the sport they love, they create as many as 12,400 jobs. Overall, the hunting and shooting industry has an annual ripple effect of $1.3 billion on Minnesota’s economy.
In addition, shooting sports participants and manufacturers are the largest financial supporters of wildlife conservation throughout the United States. They have contributed over $5.4 billion to habitat conservation, recreational shooting, and wildlife management through Pittman-Robertson excise tax payments since 1991. Minnesota received an estimated $11 million last year from Pittman-Robertson contributions, which helped to ensure that future generations could continue to enjoy our state’s many outdoor activities.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 – which is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee – would vastly reduce these economic and conservation benefits while doing little if anything to reduce violent crime. The principle focus of this and similar legislation – i.e. modern sporting rifles and magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds – is misguided. Part of the appeal of the MSR is the availability of relatively inexpensive ammunition and the social nature of practice shooting. Approximately 80 percent of MSR owners go shooting with at least one other person, and 59 percent use a magazine with at least a 20 round capacity. This allows for better utilization of range time and greater ammunition consumption, which further points to the desirability of MSRs from a retail perspective.
We would welcome an opportunity to work with you and members of your staff to explore meaningful and pragmatic solutions that will effectively reduce violence while also protecting the rich hunting and shooting heritage which law abiding Minnesotans continue to champion on behalf of future generations of sportsmen.
If we can answer any questions you may have or provide any additional information that you need, please contact Hunting Works for Minnesota at [email protected] or 612-741-6377.
Cal Brink, Executive Director, Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce & HWFM Co-Chair
Bruce Nustad, President, Minnesota Retailers Association & HWFM Co-Chair
Mark Johnson, Executive Director, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association & HWFM Co-Chair
Ron Schara, Host of Minnesota Bound & HWFM Co-Chair
Greg Larson, Owner, Larson’s Hardware in Redwood Falls & HWFM Co-Chair
AmericInn Lodge & Suites (Virginia)
AmmoCraft & Gobbler Specialties (Minnetonka)
Arrowhead Wilderness Outfitters (Brainerd)
Borch’s Sporting Goods (Marshall)
Bridge-Light Marketing (Brainerd)
Cabin Fever Saloon & Eatery (Little Falls)
Capra’s Sporting Goods (Blaine)
College Square Convenience Store (Brainerd)
Comfort Inn (Owatonna)
Corporate 4 Insurance Agency (Edina)
Country Inn and Suites (Grand Rapids)
County Fair Foods (Marshall)
Custom Wingbones by Durk (Alexandria)
DW Gunsmithing (Brainerd)
Eveleth Super 8
Flyway Customs (Lonsdale)
Foley Taxidermy Studio (Green Isle)
Frigid Forage (Onamia)
Fuhr Insurance Agency (Redwood Falls)
George Pawlik – New Prague – National Sales Rep. for Expres Wash
Gregory Company Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting (Baxter)
Guardian Inn Motel (Le Center, Windom)
Have Fun Biking (Apple Valley)
High Prairie Sporting Clays (Canby)
Hosted Hunts Inc. (Warroad)
Hyde-A-Way Bay Resort (Hackensack)
Idelwild Resort (Kabetogama)
Inner Chamber Guns (Maple Grove)
Joe’s Sporting Goods (St. Paul)
Kitchi Landing Resort (Black Duck)
Laketown Electric Corporation (Waconia)
Lamplighter Family Sports Bar and Grill (New Ulm)
Lamplighter II Family Sports Bar and Grill (Hutchinson)
Larson Boats (Little Falls)
Larson’s Hardware (Redwood Falls)
LeBlanc’s Rice Creek Hunting & Recreation (Little Falls)
Little Crow Gunworks (Spicer)
Madison Area Chamber of Commerce
Maple Lake Automotive (Maple Lake)
McCabe’s Ace Hardware (Sleepy Eye)
Mille Lacs Hunting Lodge (Onamia)
Minnesota Deer Hunters Association
Minnesota Duck and Goose Callers Association
Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club (Prior Lake)
Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA)
Minnesota Personal Safety Training (Brainerd)
Minnesota Waterfowl Association
Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau
National Wild Turkey Federation, Minnesota Chapter
Neighbor Stop Convenience Store (Blaine, Coon Rapids, Stillwater)
North American Bear Foundation
North Country Convenience Store (Warroad)
Olson and Johnson International Inc. (Marshall)
PepperCorn Restaurant (Bemidji)
Pine Square Convenience Store (Brainerd)
Precision Landscape & Irrigation (Henning)
Quality Deer Management Association
Razors Edge Systems LLC (Burnsville)
Redwood Valley Real Estate (Redwood Falls, Lamberton)
Rice Creek Kennels (Little Falls)
River View Campground (Owatonna)
Roger’s BP Amaco (Maple Lake)
Sand Pine Pheasants Family Recreation (Avon)
Sawmill Inn (Grand Rapids)
Scott Builders, Inc. (Buffalo)
Shooters Sporting Clays (Marshall)
Smackdown Outdoors (Crystal)
Small Wonders Childcare (Rushford)
Snow Shoe Liquor Inc. (Marcell)
Southern Dakota County Sportsmen’s Club
Sportsmen for Change
Sportsmen Inn Montevideo
Streiff Sporting Goods (Warroad)
Super 8 Hotel (Bemidji)
The Buck’N Rooster Taxidermy Shop (Marshall)
Trigger’s Saloon & Supper Club (Prior Lake)
True Friends Outdoors (Grand Rapids)
Tudor Rose Properties LLC (Brainerd)
Turn in Poachers, Inc.
Viking Valley Hunt Club (Ashby)
Walleye Dan Hunting and Fishing Guide Service (Brainerd)
Watson Hunting Camp & Bar (Watson)
Wiekamp Financial (Rochester)
Wild Wings of Oneka, Hunt Club & Sporting Clays (Hugo)
Windom Convention and Visitors Bureau
Wings North, Hunt Club and Sporting Clays (Pine City)