The push to drive down civilian gun ownership in coastal states via onerous regulation and confiscatory taxes took another small step forward yesterday with the introduction of HB 5700 in Connecticut. State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, one of the co-sponsors of the tax hike, is proud as can be of her bill and announced it via Twitter yesterday.
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? #gunsense #enough pic.twitter.com/NZjkWBrpjC
— Jillian Gilchrest (@Jilchrest) February 4, 2019
The #gunsense state rep’s tweet would lead you to believe that she’d increase the tax by 50%, but no. Her proposed tax, as she makes clear in the example she gives and in the language of the bill would be a 50% tax on any ammunition purchased.
Here’s the language of Gilchrest’s bill in its entirety:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
That title 12 of the general statutes be amended to increase the rate of the sales and use taxes on ammunition to fifty per cent.
Statement of Purpose: To increase the rate of the sales and use taxes on ammunition.
It will shock you to learn that Rep. Gilchrest isn’t completely truthful in the bill’s statement of purpose. The ostensible reason for the bill is to raise the amount of the tax. The real intent here is to significantly increase the cost of buying and using firearms for Nutmeg Staters in order to discourage it. If enacted, lower-income gun owners would, of course, be disproportionately affected.
Connecticut, isn’t the first to try this. We’ve seen similar taxes and fees added to the cost of ammunition in places like California, Cook County, and Seattle. It’s not likely to stop there.
As for doing something about “gun violence,” don’t look for Rep. Gilchrest’s to accomplish much. So-called “sin” taxes and prohibitions never do. As the Heritage Foundation’s Adam Michel wrote…
Ammunition taxes will…fail to address the underlying social and cultural drivers of real and perceived increases in violent acts. Instead, those looking for guns and ammunition will turn to black markets or be undiscouraged by the tax.
A tax of any level would do little to dissuade attackers involved in recent tragedies—they would have committed their heinous crimes whether or not they had to pay extra money to buy the ammunition.
Much like traditional restrictions on firearms, taxes only affect law-abiding citizens. Those who wish to carry out illegal acts will have no problem buying tax-free guns and ammunition from a black market dealer.
The average gun-owning American will pay higher taxes, and criminals will profit from expanded black markets for illegal tax-free guns.
And ammunition. Same as it ever was.