Democrats Propose Massive Tax Hike on Guns and Ammo

By:  Brian Koenig
Democrats Propose Massive Tax Hike on Guns and Ammo

In an effort to reignite the gun-control debate, two Democratic lawmakers are proposing massive tax hikes on handguns and ammunition, while linking the revenues with programs to prevent gun violence.

Sponsored by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), the “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act" is ambitious, to say the least, as it would nearly double the current 11-percent tax on handguns, while lifting the tax on bullets and cartridges from 11 percent to 50 percent.

Articles taxable at 20 percent under the proposed legislation would include pistols, revolvers, and any “lower frame or receiver for a firearm, whether for a semiautomatic pistol, rifle, or shotgun that is designed to accommodate interchangeable upper receivers.” Meanwhile, taxes on firearm shells and cartridges would rise a whopping 40 percent.

In addition, the gun transfer tax would more than double under the legislation, upping the levy on all weapons (excluding antique firearms) covered under the National Firearms Act from $200 to $500.

"As a former mayor of one of the largest cities in New Jersey, I know how critical the issue of reducing gun violence is to our communities," Rep. Pascrell, co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, said of the legislation. “This bill represents a major investment in the protection of our children and our communities, and reflects the long-term societal costs of gun and ammunition purchases in our country.”

The two lawmakers claim their legislation would generate $600 million per year, and would be used to support law-enforcement measures and gun-violence prevention programs. According to a press release published on Rep. Pascrell’s website, the bill would allocate revenues in the following manner:

The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act will direct the estimated $600 million in new revenue to programs designed to make communities safer and reduce violence, including: Project Safe Neighborhood Grants; Community-Oriented Policing Grants; Community-Based Violence Prevention Initiative Grants; research into the causes and prevention of gun violence via the Center[s] for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; the National Criminal History Improvement Program; the NICS Record Improvement Program; and grants to encourage schools and districts to implement comprehensive, evidence-based discipline systems to improve school climate.

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