Monday, August 7, 2023

Democrats Propose Substantial 1,000% Tax on 'Assault Weapons' and Standard Capacity Magazines.

Roger Krahl, president of RGuns, left, gives information to Zack Johnson about an RGuns-brand TRR15 model rifle at Krahl's gun store in Carpentersville, Ill. A bill from Democrats would impose a 1,000% excise tax on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.  (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


Over two dozen Democratic representatives introduced a bill on Friday proposing a massive 1,000% excise tax on "assault weapons" and standard-capacity magazines. If passed, this would raise the price of a firearm priced at $500 to $5,000, aiming to decrease the availability of such weapons nationwide.

The proposal was presented by Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, along with 24 other Democratic representatives. This isn't the first time such a proposition has been made. 

Previously, Beyer, supported by 37 other Democrats, brought forth a similar proposal when the House was under Democratic control, but it didn't gain traction. As of this weekend, the exact contents of Beyer's recent bill were not disclosed, so it's uncertain if there are differences from his 2022 proposal. Last year's bill sought the tax on any magazine or device that can hold over 10 rounds of ammunition. The same hefty tax was suggested for any "semiautomatic assault weapon" which was defined in the previous bill as a semiautomatic rifle or pistol with a magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds or having other specific features.

For context, under this proposed tax structure, a firearm typically priced at $2,000 could end up costing prospective buyers over $20,000. Beyer believed such a dramatic price increase might significantly "reduce the prevalence of gun violence."

Beyer previously stated, "We need urgent action to address the influx of military-grade weapons in American communities. The tragedies in Uvalde, Buffalo, and Tulsa, among other places, repeatedly showcase the misuse of these battlefield weapons in public spaces like schools, malls, and churches." 

However, the National Rifle Association (NRA) contends that the term "assault weapon" was coined by gun control supporters to mislead the public and promote stricter gun control measures. The NRA believes "assault rifle" should only refer to fully automatic firearms, which release rounds continuously when the trigger is held. These are distinct from semi-automatic firearms that release one round per trigger pull.

Interestingly, Beyer's latest bill comes after over 100 Democrats expressed their disappointment to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, regarding the GOP leadership's inaction on gun control measures this year.

A public letter addressed to McCarthy by the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force stated, "Gun-related incidents have become the primary cause of child fatalities in the U.S. since 2020. The previous year witnessed the tragic loss of 1,686 children, with another 4,485 injured due to firearms. Despite the alarming numbers, the House hasn't cast a vote on any gun control legislation."

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