As she testified before the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee on Sept. 30, 1993, Hillary Clinton was asked by Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) if she supported the imposition of a new, 25 percent national sales tax on guns. Clinton emphatically endorsed the tax, stating: “I am all for that.”
As reported by the Associated Press on Oct. 1, 1993:
Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., picked up Mrs. Clinton’s support for his idea of slapping stiff taxes on ”purveyors of violence:” a 25 percent sales tax on guns and $2,500 license fees for gun dealers.
”Speaking personally … I’m all for that,” said the first lady. But she stressed she was just speaking for herself.
”Well, let me say that there is no more important personal endorsement in the country today, and I thank you very much,” said a pleased-as-punch Bradley.
After she publically endorsed the 25 percent gun tax in congressional testimony, she made sure that everyone understood how important this was to her, saying: “I am speaking personally, but I feel very strongly about that.”
Remarkably, although the hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN and Clinton’s 25 percent gun tax endorsement was noted at the time by the AP, the Washington Post, the New York Times and others, a search of leading news databases reveals not a single media mention since 1993. Americans for Tax Reform is now highlighting the gun tax endorsement as the latest addition to its dossier of Clinton’s tax positions, available at HighTaxHillary.com.
“Hillary’s 25 percent gun tax would discourage gun ownership and be a backdoor route to gun registration,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Hillary has a long history of attacking gun owners.”
On the day of the Finance Committee hearing, NBC Nightly News reported the 25 percent gun tax incident as follows:
NBC: “Others urge a hefty sales tax on guns, and much higher fees for gun dealers. Today, they got a powerful ally.”
Clinton: “I’m all for that. I just don’t know what else we’re going to do to try to figure out how to get some handle on this violence.”
NBC: “Hillary Clinton added that’s only her personal opinion.”
The Bill Clinton White House made it clear that Hillary’s 25 percent gun tax endorsement was all hers, as shown by the Oct. 1, 1993 White House press briefing transcript:
Q: “Do you know if the President supports the First Lady’s endorsement of an idea yesterday by Senator Bradley that there be a 25 percent tax on the sale of guns in America?”
WH Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers: “Well, as you know, she was expressing her opinion.”
Sen. Bradley was seeking early support for gun tax legislation which called for a new federal sales tax on handguns and semi-automatic rifles as well as steep increases in existing federal firearms and ammunition excise taxes and gun dealer licensing fees.
Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun crusade continues to this day. During a CNN town hall meeting in 2014, she called for a ban on “assault weapons” and declared, “we cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
Clinton’s positions are consistent with longstanding progressive goals on gun taxation, gun registration, and other forms of gun control. On August 10, 2015 the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to impose a $25 per gun sales tax on all firearms. As a result, the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a lawsuit challenging these taxes.
On Aug. 26, Clinton said she would push to “balance the legitimate Second Amendment rights with preventive measures and control measures.” The next day a Washington Post headline declared her “the new standard-bearer for gun control.”
“Hillary has made it perfectly clear to the millions of gun owners in the United States: she doesn’t like us, she doesn’t trust us and she wants us to go away,” said Norquist.
- Sept. 30, 1993 Finance Committee Hearing Transcript
- Sept. 30, 1993 C-SPAN Coverage of Finance Committee Hearing
- Oct. 1, 1993 White House Press Briefing Transcript
- Oct. 1, 1993 Associated Press Article
- Oct. 1, 1993 Washington Post Article
- Nov. 4, 1993 New York Times Article
- Sen. Bill Bradley’s Gun Tax Bill