What would our country look like without guns? Would we really be better off? That is a hot-button topic lately, and our society tends to dwell on the negative, especially in recent years. While it is extremely sad and horrific when people cause such tragedy in killing innocent people, it is often caused by mentally unstable individuals making a terrible decision. “There is also a battle going on in North America and elsewhere that challenges our privilege to hunt and fish” (Phillips).
However, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior, “101.6 million Americans participated in hunting, fishing and wildlife activities in the last five years” (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
Owning guns are legally allowed according to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (US Constitution amend. II). This freedom has allowed citizens from the beginning of our country to own firearms.
Our ancestors needed firearms to hunt for food and keep their families fed and safe. While today, hunting and fishing is more of a sport, and it provides a link to our past. With the divide in our nation on being able to own guns or not, this issue continues to impact our culture, our economy and our governments’ decisions.
A career in the hunting and fishing sporting goods industry has an important role in our culture.
For this type of position, a Bachelor of Science degree in business and in fishing and wildlife is preferred (Mickelson). I job shadowed Ryan Mickelson, who is the manager of the hunting and fishing department at the sporting goods store, Borches in Marshall, Minnesota. Mickelson says there is always a need for employees with a business degree in almost all aspects of the workforce. However, specializing in hunting and fishing has the strongest need in the central and mid-western states. As a manager in a hunting and fishing department, your salary will be based off the commissions of the sales you make (Mickelson).
I want to have a career in the hunting and fishing industry. Since I’d like to work in a more rural setting, I chose to job shadow in Marshall, Minnesota. It is a larger city but within a rural setting. I like this type of position because I want to share my interest in the sport and because it “Helps get kids into the outdoors and creates more hunters and fishermen” (Mickelson). Getting kids into the outdoors is important because there are so many life lessons that can be learned such as accountability, organization, and self-efficiency (Mickelson). For example, Mickelson has learned that “If you have the right tools and knowledge, it will make the job so much easier.” He has learned many life lessons while hunting and fishing and has applied what he has learned into his career (Mickelson).
When people don’t experience nature, they begin to lose the importance of how valuable nature is to our culture. “Our urge to hunt and fish is natural” (Phillips). He continues to say, “Going hunting or fishing is keeping our past alive in us” (Phillips). In fact, many families pass on the sport of hunting and fishing from generation to generation. It is a tradition and provides a time of building closer relationships and de-stressing from the pressures of everyday life. “When we get closer to nature—be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree—we do our overstressed brains a favor” (Williams). Hunting and fishing can be a sport that helps some people relax and a tradition they like to pass along to their children.
Besides the culture, hunting and fishing sales are a key part of our economy. “Hunting is much more than a traditional American pastime” (California Department of Fish and Wildlife). The California Department of Fish and Wildlife goes on to say, “It creates more than 700,000 jobs nationwide.” Many citizens are gun owners or they rely on the manufacturing of guns to make a living. “New studies now show that annual spending by America’s 14 million hunters amounts to $22.1 billion” (California Department of Fish and Wildlife). It is clear that hunting is an important part our economy. “The U.S. Firearms and Ammunition Industry grew to $51.3 billion by 2016 and employs over 300,000 people,” (Snook) according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Economic Impact Report.
Recent sales of guns has slowed over the past few years (Mickelson). Ryan Mickelson also mentions that he believes “it has to do with the fact that gun sales usually increase when there is Democrat president compared to when a Republican is in office.” Democrats are typically against gun ownership, so whenever there is a Democrat in office people are worried their Second Amendment rights will be threatened and tend to buy guns before their right is taken away. There would be large number of people upset if that ever happened.
A study by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, “estimates that roughly 90 million citizens, or 38 percent of the population age 16 or older, spent an estimated $145 billion on wildlife activities in the U.S. last year” (Spring). This information indicates that without these outdoors activities our economy would suffer greatly.
Commercial, recreational and fishing related industries are also a large part of our economy (NOAA). California would be negatively impacted by a large job loss in the seafood industry; with a total of 114,000 people employed in the U.S. Seafood Industry (NOAA). A survey done by Fisheries Economics of the United States said “a total of 1.62 million jobs were supported by Commercial and Recreational Fishing Industries” (NOAA).
Not only does hunting and fishing affect our economy but our government too. As a seller of guns, “We help law enforcement track down stolen guns” (Mickelson). “When it comes to selling guns, a war has a huge effect on gun sales to the government” (Mickelson). After the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut in 2012, sales of weapons increased rapidly due to fears of future bans (NRA). Significantly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has called for a government review on the legality of ‘bump stock’ accessories, which transform a semi-automatic weapons capability into an almost entirely automatic one.
To summarize, a manager of the gun and fishing department at Borches sporting goods store affects our culture, economy and government greatly.