Regarding AB 3199, a bill to restrict charitable organizations to no more than three events per year with gun raffles:
(Roseville, California) April 11, 2018 — California Waterfowl is a non-profit conservation organization founded and funded largely by hunters. It has about 100 fundraising banquets each year, and our top raffle items at these banquets are guns. Winning a gun is considered a big deal in our community.
Funding conservation with guns is not a new concept: 81 years ago, hunters agreed to tax themselves with the federal Pittman-Robertson Act, which places an 11 percent excise tax on guns and ammunition. The proceeds go primarily to support wildlife habitat, and since this act was passed, it has raised more than $2 billion, and states have matched this funding with more than $500 million.
Combined with hunting regulations that limit hunter take to levels that don’t imperil species’ overall health – laws also instigated by hunters – this funding has helped bring about a miraculous recovery of species that were on the brink 100 years ago, including wood ducks, turkeys and white-tailed deer.
In addition to this tax, California Waterfowl’s supporters pour enormous sums into raffle tickets that might win them a gun. Firearm raffles at California Waterfowl events bring in about $2 million per year, and constitute 75 to 80% of the proceeds at our fundraising events. Eliminating gun raffles at most of our events would gut a major source of our revenue for conservation.
When our supporters win a gun at one of our events, they are required to go through the same background check and 10-day waiting period as every other gun buyer in California. The difference between buying a gun at the store and winning a gun at a fundraising event is that the latter raises even more money for conservation than the former.
There is no evidence that guns won at California Waterfowl – or any – fundraising events are contributing to gun violence. AB 3199, which would restrict charitable organizations to no more than three events per year with gun raffles, is worse than a solution in search of a problem; it would prove extremely damaging to organizations like ours that ensure wildlife have a place to live and thrive amid the relentless expansion of human development across our state. It creates a victim where there was none before: wildlife.
Read our letter to lawmakers about this bill here.
Learn more about our conservation efforts here.
Holly Heyser, Communications Director
916-648-1406 ext. 112