Guns

Democrats propose gun and ammunition tax hike weeks before midterm election

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Nearly two dozen House Democrats are proposing higher gun and ammunition taxes and want to tie some gun-related taxes to inflation, just weeks before the midterm elections.

The “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act,” by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and 21 House Democrats, would raise federal excise taxes on all firearms and ammunition . It would also increase taxes on importers, manufacturers and dealers of firearms, as well as any person or entity that transfers ownership of most firearms.

Democrats said the bill is modeled after federal tobacco taxes that have raised revenue to fund programs aimed at reducing tobacco use. The gun tax bill would raise up to $38 million a year and direct that money to a new gun violence prevention trust fund.

Protesters gather for a Second Amendment rally at the Washington State Capitol on March 20, 2021 in Olympia. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

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This fund would direct revenues to “community grants for violence prevention; gun violence research; hate crime prevention and enforcement; and training forensic pathologists.”

“Not a penny of current federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition goes to gun violence prevention,” Davis said. “The Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act is an important part of overall gun violence prevention because it creates guaranteed annual funding to end gun violence through a 0.5 % of existing excise taxes on firearms and ammunition.”

Under current law, the federal excise tax on pistols and revolvers is 10%, which would be increased to 10.5% under the Democratic bill. The excise tax on other firearms and cartridges/cartridges is 11%, which would increase to 11.5%.

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President Joe Biden holds up pieces of a pistol in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 11, 2022, as the administration's phantom gun rule is announced.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Joe Biden holds up pieces of a pistol in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 11, 2022, as the administration’s phantom gun rule is announced. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP)

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The current law also stipulates that importers and manufacturers of firearms must pay an annual tax of $500 or $1,000, depending on the size of the business. Under the Democratic bill, that amount would be adjusted for inflation each year, as would the $200 transfer tax that must be paid when a gun is sold.

The legislation is the latest sign that Democrats think gun control is a winning issue for them ahead of the midterm elections. In late August, President Joe Biden said he was “committed to banning assault weapons in this country”, and several Democrats campaigned on the idea that access to guns is the root of the crisis. increase in armed violence.

“It’s time to ban them,” Biden said. “It’s time to ban these weapons. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on July 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on July 22, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Republicans have rejected those arguments and say Democrats’ support for soft sentencing and the “defund the police” movement has emboldened criminals. The GOP says that weakening Americans’ Second Amendment rights would only hurt efforts to curb the violence.

At the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recounted how a man with a gun arrested another man during a Texas church shooting in 2017, and was interrupted by a heckler who shouted that violence does not stop violence. “It’s actually the only thing that works,” Cruz replied.