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It’s good to be vigilant, but …

ItsATaxA few readers have sent me links to this proposal by a few Democratic Congress Critters that proposes to impose a severe tax on handguns and ammunition. There is legislation introduced all the time in Congress to do all kinds of unspeakable thinks to all kinds of rights, including your Second Amendment rights. The vast majority of them are going nowhere.

When a bill gets introduced to Congress, which any Congressman can do, it first gets referred to committee, which is where the vast majority of bills sit ignored until they die when that session of Congress comes to an end. There are a few things to watch. One thing to watch for is the cosponsor count. HR.3018 is currently sitting at a whopping one co-sponsor. Another thing to watch is whether it gets scheduled for any kind of hearing. Generally speaking, the committee won’t waste its time with a bill that only has one co-sponsor. Only 11% of bills ever made it through the committee process, and only 3% of introduced legislation actually gets enacted.

I’d also add that, while this doesn’t mean as much as it should, it’s generally accepted in current court doctrine on treatment of fundamental rights, that you can’t tax the exercise of those rights. Even the Pittsman-Robertson excise tax is questionably constitutional, let alone this. While I don’t really expect the courts to ever save us, this would be stronger ground to fight on in court than the many other things our opponents can do to us.

All this combined means HR.3018 is something to watch, but it’s probably nothing to panic about.

6 Responses to “It’s good to be vigilant, but …”

  1. Ron says:

    I’m sorry, but this bill is pure political bullshit. WTF does a taxation (20%) have to do with preventing gun violence?!?! I have always suspected creating taxation will be the method used to disarm the general population in the country. Although this bill will most likely fade away, it is NOT the first time such a bill has been proposed, nor will it be the last.

  2. Braden Lynch says:

    Hey Ron, if it is for reducing gun violence then let’s just tax it at a trillion dollars per firearm and a billion dollars per round.

    That will stop all gun violence when those annoying free citizens can no longer afford firearms and only those with exemptions (and criminals) can get them. Oh wait… /end sarcasm

    Effectively it is for outlawing private firearms ownership, except for the elites.

    How about similar taxes on your exercise of your religion, your freedom of expression, your right to peaceably assemble, etc?

    Why is it the progressives think that the BOR is an a la carte menu where you pick and chose what the Constitution protects?

    • Braden Lynch says:

      I’m not criticizing Ron. I am in full agreement with him in case the sarcasm rant was mistaken.

      • Ron says:

        Braden, I am with you all the way on reducing gun violence. I read multiple tales each day of senseless gun violence. I sure did not plan on living this way when I was younger.

  3. Jeff says:

    The courts may save us from a tax, but the legislature can simply recast it as a fee to defray costs of regulation and then make the regulations burdensome enough to drive the cost as high as they want. See Kwong v. Bloomberg, 12-1578-cv (2d Cir. 2013).

    • Otto Mann says:

      Exarkly what Jeff said! At the state and city level they’re wise to this strategy of economic discrimination. They just call it a fee and supposedly tie it to the associated costs (which they can use accounting to present as very high). These fees amount to taxes.

      Excellent citation of Kwong case.

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