California Democrats Seek to Introduce Yet Another Tax on California Gun Buyers

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Posted by Elias Korpela on Friday, April 9th, 2021, 5:49 PM PERMALINK

Despite current federal excise taxes on firearms and California’s already onerous gun laws, California lawmakers are eager to add another tax on guns and ammunition sales. 
 
California Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) introduced legislation that would add an excise tax on gun retailers for firearm and ammunition sales. This bill would add a 25-dollar tax on the sale of every new gun purchased in California as well as a new tax on ammunition sales at a yet undetermined amount. The money raised by the tax would be used to fund violence prevention programs like California’s CalVIP program. 
 
Assemblyman Levine explained his support for the bill arguing that “Gun violence will not end on its own” and that it is critical to “take responsible action to end the public health crisis that is gun violence in California and in our country.” 
 
While stopping violence using guns is a worthwhile goal, the legislation proposed by Assemblymember Levine wholly misses its mark. 
 
First, the legislation would do little to curb violence using guns. Citing multiple studies, RAND Cooperation in 2018 concluded that “moderate tax increases on guns or ammunition would do little to disrupt hunting or recreational gun use”
 
Similarly, the legislation would do little in discouraging legal and illegal gun purchases. According to a 2018 UC Davis Health survey, despite some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, “roughly 25 percent of those who purchased their most recent firearm in California reported that they did not undergo a background check.” Even with strict gun laws, increasing the price of guns has little to no effect on someone’s decision to obtain a firearm.  
 
Finally, Levin’s legislation would only add another tax to the litany of other taxes and fees on Californians. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, “The federal government already imposes about $750 million in excise taxes on the import and retail sale of guns and ammunition. Handguns are taxed at 10 percent, and other guns and ammunition are taxed at 11 percent.” Even in California, the state annually collects $6 million in gun fees and requires fees like a $31 Dealer Record of Sale Fee and a $5 Safety and Enforcement Fee. Moreover, the violence prevention programs the bill would fund already received $30 million in state funding. 
 
Levine’s bill does little to curb violence using guns. It is clear that this new bill is nothing more than a new tax and a cash grab by desperate California Democrats looking to take even more from Californian taxpayers’ wallets and to further infringe on their 2nd Amendment rights. 
 

Photo Credit: Sacramento Press Media

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