January 29, 2023

$750,000 For Maine Shooting Ranges

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It’s not that I am against shooting ranges….no really. It’s just that I’m more of a priority-driven kind of person. Just about everything I do in life is weighed against priorities.

For instance, Maine has a dire problem with whitetail deer management, the complaint most always being no money to do anything about the problem. Some think Maine has a shortage of game wardens; the excuse being there isn’t enough money to do the job right. Some say Maine’s hatcheries aren’t adequate to get the job done, or that the overall fisheries in the state are lacking, all because there’s not enough money to get the job done.

I’m also not a person who believes in throwing money at problems. I believe one of the problems at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) is there is too much waste of the money they get and that the money being expended goes to non game programs that do not contribute to the revenue source.

A lot of people shoot; there are far more gun owners and guns than there are hunters. People who purchase guns and ammunition and related accessories pay an excise tax that becomes earmarked to be spent on specified projects that improve hunting, trapping, fishing and other opportunities. Taxes collected from the sale of these guns and such has amounted to a considerable amount of money since Barack Obama has managed to scare the hell out of millions of people, forcing them to stock up on guns and ammo. That rush to buy has resulted in a windfall from Pittman-Robertson excise tax money and now the MDIFW is trying to figure out what to do with the money. (It’s a windfall and not a guaranteed added revenue stream)

They’ve opted to spend $750,000, of an estimated $1 million, to improve shooting ranges. People who buy and shoot guns should be able to see the rewards of their tax money spent but is this the best use of that money right now?

Some will argue that perhaps there will never be a good time and perhaps they are right. I don’t want to short-change the person who has contributed tax dollars to Pittman-Robertson, no more than I want to see my tax dollars being spent on non game programs at MDIFW. But priorities!

I wish MDIFW would rethink this decision but if they insist the money be spent for this purpose, I certainly hope the money doesn’t go to private-owned shooting ranges.

More can be found here.