A Connecticut state legislator has introduced a measure that, if passed, would levy a 50% tax ammunition. According to Rep. Jillian Gilchrist, the bill is a “public health matter” not the equivalent of a “sin tax” levied against shooters.
The freshman legislator explained in a video she uploaded to Twitter that “we want to increase it (the tax on ammunition) by 50 percent, because we see it as a prevention measure.”
“For example,” she continued, “if someone were to buy a 50 cartridge box of ammunition for about $10, it would increase the price to $15.”
As you can imagine, the National Rifle Association has already condemned the legislation, while legal observers have concerns about the legality of such a measure.
Gilchrist’s not impressed.
“We see this as a public health measure,” she said, “similar to what we’ve done in Connecticut with increasing the tax on cigarettes. When we increase that tax, we’ve seen a reduction in use.”
While her measure - and the motivation behind it- may be called into question, there have been other successful taxes on ammunition. The Washington Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s ammunition and gun tax in 2017, saying the tax was acceptable because its “primary purpose was to raise revenue” rather than discourage gun owners from buying ammunition.
The NRA was quick to post this on Twitter: “This dreadful legislation punishes law-abiding citizens and makes it harder on them to safely use firearms.”
Gilchrist’s response was equally pointed: “Every day, hundreds of Americans are killed with guns. @NRA, I’m interested in preventing gun violence. If increasing the tax on ammunition can prevent just one death, it’s worth it.”
That sounds good, but it’s easy to advocate for a tax when it doesn’t impact you. And it seems a reach to treat shooting and smoking as equal public health issues. Smoking, after all, is a health risk. Shooting, on the other hand, is recreation - and already subject to all sorts of safety regulations.
What she’s suggesting is, in essence, a sin tax. And another step toward two less than noble goals: the further demonization of gun owners and another government intrusion into the lives of average citizens.
Of course, she’s not alone in her ultimate goals. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a 50 percent increase in the state budget for the program that seeks to seize firearms from people ruled “ineligble” to own guns because of past criminal convictions or mental illness. Newsom’s also pushing state lawmakers to expand a CalDOJ unit tasked with enforcing gun sale laws, and a bump in budgeting for the Firearms Violence Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
California legislators, in response, are hoping they can reintroduce and pass gun control legislation that was vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown.
Those measures include a purchase limit of one long gun per month, and regulations on parts that can be used to build “homemade” guns.
They’ve already introduced measures that would put a 10-year firearm prohibition on anyone convicted of two drug or alcohol crimes in a three-year period, a requirement that gun owners lock up their weapons when they’re not at home, and a tax on gun sales that would fund violence prevention programs. A bill that would permit more people to seek “gun violence restraining orders” against someone they “believe poses a danger to themselves or others” has also been reintroduced.
Today, we live in a society where tolerance, lifestyle choice and personal freedom are shoved down the throats of anyone who dares question government encroachment that’s supposed to be “for our own good.”
Instead, the belief in limited government, fewer regulations, or the idea that personal responsibility accompany personal choice isn’t covered by the same people who in turn pillory us for “intolerance.”
That’s not tolerance; it’s hypocrisy.