Oct 10 2013

50% Ammo Tax to Pay Off “Long Term Societal Effects” of Gun Violence


This August, two Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that would hike the taxes on handguns and ammo to 20 and 50 percent, respectively – unless you work in law enforcement. All federal, state, and local agencies will be exempt. The new bill also includes an increase on transfer taxes, bringing the tax stamp to $100 on most firearms, and $500 on Title II weapons under the National Firearms Act. The “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act” would also include “lower frame[s] or receiver[s] for a firearm, whether for a semiautomatic pistol, rifle, or shotgun that is designed to accommodate interchangeable upper receivers” in the 20 percent tax bracket. The bill is being sponsored by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.).

Davis, who represents part of Chicago and its notoriously strict gun control, says the tax money will go to “good use.” The bill is expected to generate $600 million a year, which will be used to fund gun-violence prevention programs and law enforcement agencies. A press release on Pascrell’s website states that the bill would allocate funds to further CDC gun violence studies (the results of which have not favored gun-grabbers in the past), the NICS Record Improvement Program, Project Safe Neighborhood, and Community-Oriented Policing Grants, among others. Pascrell has said that the bill is meant to reflect the “long-term societal costs of gun and ammunition purchasing” in the US. The Obama Administration’s most recent CDC study on gun violence and prevention showed firearm related homicides on a continuous decline, and mass shootings as an increasingly rare occurrence. So what exactly are these tragic, long-term societal costs? That firearms are used in defense as often as they are for crimes?

Davis states, “This legislation is a pro-active approach to reducing gun violence by using proven preventive programs which have been starved for funds until now… this legislation closes major loopholes in tax law and lays out an equitable, long term, sustainable strategy to provide the requisite resources.” However, if the CDC study is correct, it seems we’ve been doing quite well without any of these programs that have apparently been too starved to work anyway. I also don’t know if raising taxes really qualifies as “closing loopholes,” but we all know Congress is good at using ambiguous and misleading language.

Thankfully, critics doubt that the bill will gain any headway in Congress. Alan Gottlieb, chair of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, calls it what it is – confiscatory taxation and a way to regulate away gun ownership. Similar bills have been proposed before and have been largely shot down. Either way, it never hurts to stock up – the fight to protect Second Amendment rights is far from over. The bill is currently in committee.


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