A state representative in Connecticut has planted a new flag in the gun-control debate after proposing a bill that would increase the tax on ammunition by 50%.
Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-Hartford), who was elected last November, introduced HB5700, which would “increase the rate of the sales and use taxes on ammunition to fifty per cent.” On Twitter, Gilchrest posted a video message explaining her bill.
“I’ve introduced HB 5700, a 50% tax increase on ammunition. It doesn’t apply to military or law enforcement. I’m hearing push back about the need to protect one's home ... but how much ammunition does someone really need to do that?”
It doesn’t matter how much ammunition someone “really” needs to protect themselves, an increase like this would make it harder for many low-income Americans to do so.
“Currently ammunition is taxed at the same rate as other products,” Gilchrest said in her video. “We want to increase it by 50% because we see it as a prevention measure.”
“We see this as a public health measure similar to what we’ve done in the state of Connecticut with increasing the tax on cigarettes,” she added. “When we increase that tax we’ve seen a reduction in use. We want to continue Connecticut’s legacy of being the leader in preventing and addressing gun violence and we see this as another step forward in that direction.”
Tax increases for cigarettes were done along with a campaign to inform people of the harm caused by cigarette use, something not readily known prior. People know what guns can do, and ammunition doesn’t do anything by itself. This is just a way for the state to make money. And, like all punitive taxes of this kind, it will hurt low-income Americans the most — who not only have less money to spend on home protection, but are also in most need of it.
The National Rifle Association has begun targeting Gilchrest’s bill, and released a tweet saying this “dreadful legislation punishes law-abiding citizens and makes it harder to learn how to safely use firearms,” because one does go through quite a bit of ammunition when learning to shoot.
Radio host and staunch Second Amendment supporter (who is also a spokeswoman for the NRA) Dana Loesch also tweeted about the bill, calling it “[c]lass warfare with your Constitutional rights."
As The Daily Caller reported, passage of the bill “would likely face significant legal challenges from the NRA and other Second Amendment advocacy organizations.
The Hartford Courant quoted the RAND Corporation’s research, which found “little empirical evidence to indicate how taxation would influence firearm-related outcomes, such as violent crime or suicides" but suggested the law could be used to “derive insights from policy changes in these markets.”