If America’s anti-gun crowd can’t get its way by encouraging the Nation’s lawmakers to pass unConstitutional gun-control legislation, they are likely going to attack the right to bear arms with the tax system.
The Washington Times’ Emily Miller said an alarming “perfect storm of liberalism” is fomenting as cities and States in the Nation’s more liberal regions are increasingly looking to the tax system as a means by which to control firearm purchases.
President Obama’s hometown of Chicago started the movement late last year by enacting a $25 tax on new firearm purchases, which went into effect on April 1. Cook County stopped just short of adding a levy on ammunition.
In February, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, California Democrat, and 26 of the most uber-liberals in the House introduced a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code to create an excise tax of 10 percent on any concealable gun in order to empower Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to establish a firearms buy-back grant program.
Since the Newtown, Conn., school-shootings tragedy, anti-gun states across the nation have introduced similar measures.
Miller touts a House proposal introduced by Representative Same Graves (R-Mo.), which would classify high localized taxes on firearms and ammunition as “infringement” on the right to bear arms.
“When you place this outrageous tax on the sale of ammunition and firearms, it’s intended to curtail those rights,” Graves told Miller.
Graves’ Protecting Honest, Everyday Americans from Senseless and Needless Taxes, or PHEASANT Act (H.R. 2361), is designed to prohibit local officials from enacting additional taxes on firearms and ammunition. Backers of the bill say that pressure from 2nd Amendment supporters will likely give PHEASANT a good chance of passing in both legislative chambers.
Announcing the bill earlier in the month, Graves said:
You’re seeing a lot of municipalities just imposing a tax to infringe and that’s part of the problem. I believe that’s in conflict with the Constitution because it states the right for people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this is infringing upon their right to do that and we’re just trying to stop that. I am hopeful we can get it through the Senate. The president may decide not to sign it. He has a much different attitude toward Second Amendment rights than I do. One of the areas that have taken advantage to tax the sale of firearms and ammunition has been Chicago, which is obviously where he is from. I’m not too worried about Missouri, but I want to make sure that in the future we don’t ever have to worry about it in Missouri or any other state.
Graves’ effort would halt efforts like Massachusetts’ proposed 25 percent excise tax on all firearms, proposals in Connecticut and Maryland that would increase sales tax on all ammunition by 50 percent, and a Washington State plan to tax firearms at $25.
Miller concedes that the poorest Americans will be hit hardest by the taxes and fees, “These costly measures disproportionately affect lower-income people, who often live in higher-crime areas.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has fully endorsed the Graves proposal.
“Congressman Graves is to be commended for introducing a bill to prevent one of the latest tactics of anti-gun politicians, that is pricing firearms and ammunition out of reach of responsible, law-abiding Americans through new taxes on the state or local level,” Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF, said of the proposed bill. “We believe that such taxes are unconstitutional and, in effect, amount to a poll tax on the Second Amendment. We endorse H.R. 2361.”
Meanwhile, some on the left are introducing legislative proposals that would achieve the exact opposite effect of the PHEASANT Act. Representative Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) recently introduced the Firearm Safety and Buyback Grant Act, which proposes a tax on handgun purchases and concealed firearms. Proceeds from Sanchez’s proposed tax would be used to fund gun-buyback initiatives.