Ammo tax would cost more than the ammo

April 17, 2013

By Katy Grimes


The recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is the motivation behind the overwhelming number of gun-control measures moving rapidly through the state Legislature.

One of these bills, AB 760, would charge 5 cents on every round of ammunition sold in California. At a hearing Monday in the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee, the bill’s author, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, said the bill would raise an estimated $50 million ostensibly to restore a mental health program for children.

AB 760 is one of eight bills introduced this year that increase regulation on just the ammunition.

Dickinson said that the 5 cent tax on each round of ammunition “is just that simple.” Then he shifted to talking about the benefits of the tax revenue. “It’s dedicated to restoring funding for the pre-existing early mental health program EMHI,” Dickinson said. “It aims at our very young children, in grades one to three, and helps them with diagnosis and then subsequent treatment.”

Dickinson explained that Gov. Jerry Brown cut funding for the Early Mental Health Initiative from last year’s state budget.

At a press conference prior to the hearing, Dickinson said he is not worried that the more than 20 gun control bills in the Legislature would hurt the chances of his legislation being passed, KQED reported.

Dickinson said he’s hoping the hefty ammo tax would diminish ammunition purchases. He added that the FBI says murders with guns amount to 68 percent of all murders in California. “There were 600,000 guns sold in California last year,” Dickinson said. “These are the costs we all must bear as a result of gun violence. Taxing ammo can provide a steady source of revenue.”

Opposing AB 760 are Gun Owners of California, the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

“Bulletproofing Communities” or tying their hands?

The Assembly Public Safety Committee has also approved the “Bulletproofing Communities” bill, Assembly Bill 48, by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which aims for tighter controls of all ammunition sales in the state:

* It requires the sale or transfer of all bullets done only by licensed dealers.

* All buyers must present identification.

* Sales records will be transmitted to the California Department of Justice, which will notify law enforcement of anyone purchasing more than 3,000 rounds within five days.

* AB 48 would also ban conversion kits, which allow guns to fire more bullets without reloading.

No nexus between mental health and ammo tax

Dickinson noted, “There is no correlation between mental health and gun violence.” Yet his bill would fund the mental health program. Under state law, tax bills require a nexus between the tax and the program funded by the revenue.

AB 760 brought a challenge from Sam Paredes of Gun Owners of California, who said there is a Constitutional problem with Dickison’s bill. Paredes pointed to 1983 court case, the Minnesota Star Tribune vs. the Minnesota Commissioner. The U.S. Supreme Court found that state tax systems cannot treat the press differently than any other business without significant and substantial justification. The state of Minnesota demonstrated no such justification to impose a special tax on a select few newspaper publishers. Therefore, this tax was in violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press.

By analogy, the court decision then would ban a special tax violating the Second Amendment “right to keep and bear arms.” In other words, a sales tax increase on all sporting goods, for example, might be allowed; but one only on bullets would not be.

A representative from the NRA held up an empty box of small caliber bullets and said the box retails for $1.50. Dickinson’s 5 cent ammo tax would add $2.50 to the purchase. “The tax costs more than the product,” he said.

Craig DeLuz with the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees pointed out a section in Dickinson’s bill which clearly states retailers cannot offer to pay the tax for purchasers, the way furniture stores often do as a promotion.

Because Dickinson’s bill is a tax increase, it will require support from two-thirds of the Legislature. The bill was sent to the suspense file.


Write a comment
  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 17 April, 2013, 10:58

    In McCullock vs. Maryland Chief Justice John Marshall famously opined “The power to tax is the power to destroy”

    What is the difference from a civil rights standpoint between an ammo tax and a poll tax? In Crazyfornia an ammo tax would be far worse since voting is a waste of time here anyway.

    The same Progressive Fascist vermin who squeal like stuck pigs about voter I.D. laws and poll taxes are gleefully attempting to tax The Second Amendment out of existence. They are openly bragging about suppressing a fundamental constitutional right with punitive taxation! For the children of course. If only they had such concern for aborted fetal infants whose deaths they celebrate as a triumph of liberty. THESE PEOPLE ARE DESPICABLE MONSTERS. The only thing worse that the likes of Roger Dickinson and Nancy Skinner are the brain dead moral degenerates who vote for them.

    Make no mistake, these ProgNazi’s intend to destroy the Right to Keep and Bear Arms by any means necessary. To them toilet paper is more precious than the U.S. Constitution.

    Being a gun owner in Crazyfornia is increasingly like being a Jew in Nazi Germany. How long before we are forced to wear a yellow star so people can spit on us in public?

    Reply this comment
  2. GoneFishing
    GoneFishing 17 April, 2013, 12:24

    Unless the 2nd Amendment has been lawfully nullified and ratifyed by Congress and States, no State has the right to make it difficult to obtain firearms and ammunition. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently confirmed and articulated that our 2nd Amendment rights “shall not be infringed”. What California(and some other States) is attempting/succeeding, effects most especially the not so well to do, making the purchases cost-prohibitive and thereby infringes on their rights. Further, those politicians swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States…but instead trample the Supreme Law of The Land. Will we the people wake before it’s too late?

    Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 April, 2013, 15:27

    Face it. Your pressure cooker is next……

    Reply this comment
  4. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 17 April, 2013, 17:39

    Nonsense, GoneFishing. The USSC never confirmed or articulated anything of the kind. In Heller and later MacDonald it merely affirmed the right of citizens to be armed. It didn’t remove any limits on the type, number, or use of such arms if there were laws regulating them, and it even supported the DC requirement for complete firearm registration.

    Taxing ammunition is not an infringement on the 2nd Amendment, but it might cost you a little more to stockpile your ammunition while you wait for the next insurrection to start.

    Reply this comment
  5. Hank
    Hank 17 April, 2013, 19:59

    I live in the gun loving state of CA. I will drive over to NV, purchase a ton of ammo, eat lunch, buy some other things, and fill up my tank of gas over there and head back to liberal-land. I have no problems giving my sales tax to NV. If I could get out of CA, I would.

    Reply this comment
  6. Bill
    Bill 17 April, 2013, 20:01

    In the good old days when ammo such as the .22 were on the shelves, if it had been taxed, darn box of 500 would of cost me $25 in taxes? WTF. If some wacko wanted to kill, I don’t think taxes or a high price of bullets will stop them.

    Reply this comment
  7. dltravers
    dltravers 17 April, 2013, 21:10

    Yes, is did strike down portions of the law regulating firearms as a “banning” of firearms as well as recognizing pistols are arms under the second amendment.

    “On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia.[3][4] The Court of Appeals had struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the District of Columbia’s regulations act was an unconstitutional banning, and struck down the portion of the regulations act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.” “Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.””

    Clearly these laws will pass and will be sorted out later in the courts. Charging an $100,000 tax for a $20,000 car would be the same thing and is an idea they may hijack.

    Let us end global warming by taxing the cars that kill quickly and incrementally massive amounts of people every day.

    If you do not recognize all peoples rights, even the ones you dont like, then you could eventually vote to kill and imprison the people you do not like. Thats why we live in a Republic and not a democracy.

    I despise Rap music and believe that it contribues to gun violence but I do not propose banning Rap music for obvious reasons. I do not propose to tax Rap music with a death tax.

    That is why the comparisons to the Fasists come up so often. It is very similar in some respects. The politics of demonization.

    Read about the death of Socrates, it might do you some good.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 April, 2013, 21:38

    Intellectuals ruining this site. Where are the doomers from Adelanto?

    Reply this comment
  9. fish
    fish 17 April, 2013, 21:48

    Intellectuals ruining this site. Where are the doomers from Adelanto?

    With your mom…. how’s that for intellectualism and “highbrow” commenting?

    Reply this comment
  10. Brown delta trout
    Brown delta trout 17 April, 2013, 21:58

    The commie won’t be happy until only commies have guns…

    Reply this comment
  11. Donkey
    Donkey 18 April, 2013, 13:28

    The evil RAGWUS, always seeking control of individuals and their power. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  12. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 21 April, 2013, 18:19

    Now we’re only looking to exert power and control over you, Donkey.

    Reply this comment
  13. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 21 April, 2013, 18:27

    You’re correct, dltravers, that the court held banning of an entire class of guns, handguns in this case, to be unconstitutional. It did not limit other controls on such weapons, and acknowledged that a registration and owner licensing requirement was fully constitutional is it was not administered in an arbitrary manner.

    GoneNutty claimed that the decision opened wide the doors for basically any type of gun possession without limit. That is clearly not the case, as even the most cursory reading of Heller or MacDonald will demonstrate.

    Tacking on an additional excise tax of, say, 5 or 10 cents per round would not create the functional equivalent of confiscation, nor would requiring a police issued permit for ammunition purchases. Such a fee would add $2.50 to $5.00 to the cost per box for purchasing most types of handgun or rimfire ammunition, and something on the order of $1.00 to $2.00 per box for centerfire rifle ammunition. Hardly a confiscatory tax level.

    Reply this comment
  14. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 20 October, 2015, 15:25

    A Stupid Tax to be paid by all the idiots who voted to reelect Moonbeam

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

CA Legislature attacking gun rights

April 2, 2013 By John Seiler If there’s one thing that might get me finally to move away from the

A Tale of Two Boycotts

Katy Grimes: Cries of “racism,” “solidarity,” and “plantation politics” from Democrat state legislators were heard at a rally to support

NSA scandal reveals real liberty lovers

June 17, 2013 By Steven Greenhut Most Americans who pay any attention to politics believe the nation’s great chasm is