Gimme a Case to Go

Ammunition is flying off the shelves. Retailers can't keep bullets in stock. Gun owners have been hoarding ammunition (and buying more guns) since discussion started about enacting gun-control legislation in the wake of mass shootings.

In Tennessee, each box of ammunition carries a little green tag. It represents a 10-cent tax on each container of shells and it goes to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Exact numbers aren't available, but legislators say the revenue stream has been bumped substantially over the last three years. The ammo revenue may help to offset the decline in hunting and fishing license revenue the agency has depended on, but has been declining over the years.

The agency is arguing that it is strapped for cash and needs to allow a coal company to mine and an oil company to drill in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. The agency does not get money from the state's general fund (unless by special appropriation) but it gets the ammo tax and it gets the revenue from hunting and fishing licenses and it gets some designated federal funds to operate.

The agency has an $85 million budget, but selling coal and oil rights in wildlife areas could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.