As more police departments throughout the nation are adopting policies requiring officers to wear body cameras while on duty, one Missouri lawmaker believes the cost of the new equipment should be offset by levying a new tax against lawful U.S. gun owners.
Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Democratic state lawmaker from Kansas, has introduced legislation that would require all Missouri law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. A separate piece of legislation would pay for the new cameras through a 1 percent statewide tax increase on firearm and ammunition sales.
The funds raised would go to the “Peace Officer Handgun and Ammunition Sales Tax Fund” for use by police departments.
Gun rights advocates have decried the plan, noting that it amounts to a punitive tax on legal gun purchasers.
“Forcing law-abiding Missourians to pay an additional tax on firearm and ammunition purchases is unmerited,” the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement. “Gun owners and purchasers should not be responsible for funding these projects.”
But, as Guns.com pointed out Monday, the tax wouldn’t be the first of its kind: “In Cook County, Illinois officials enacted a $25 one-time “Violence Tax” on each gun sale to fund indigent gunshot victim care at the county-run hospital. This came at the same time that legislation was proposed in Maryland, Massachusetts and California to add extra fees to ammunition sales to finance various mental health initiatives.”