After the Civil War, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas and other southern states created a poll tax. The tax on voting disenfranchised millions of African Americans. In 1964, the states passed the 24th Amendment striking down the poll tax—for Federal elections. In 1965, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act which prohibited the states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure . . . to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, the Supreme Court formally extended the poll-tax prohibition to the states, ruling that the practice violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.” OK, so, gun rights . . .

The Constitutional ban on federal legislation that infringes a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms couldn’t be any more clear: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

If a poll tax is considered unconstitutional, how is it that the feds can tax guns and ammo? Dunno. But they do. The Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau collects a 10 percent federal tax on the sale price of guns and an 11 percent tax on the sale price of ammo. Imported rifles and shotguns face an 11 percent tariff.

No one’s challenged the federal tax on constitutional grounds. But our sources tell us that either the NRA and/or the Second Amendment Foundation are about to file suits against the Cook County tax ordinance as a discriminatory violation of citizens’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

The case seems pretty clear: the Cook County tax imposes an unfair and unequal burden on low-income (read: black) residents. Good luck with that. Win or lose, the battle of the “gun owners poll tax” would raise an important question: is the fight for the right to keep and bear arms the next civil rights crusade?

Could we see a move towards creating a Gun Owners Act, prohibiting local, state and federal interference with gun and ammo sales (including regulating concealed carry)? It seems highly unlikely; tens of millions of Americans have completely bought into the idea that infringement is necessary for public safety.

Still, there was a time when Jim Crow laws seemed permanent. And while the Constitutional Carry movement seems to have run out of steam (after victories in Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming) there are still plenty of gun rights repressed voters ready and willing (if not currently able) to fight for the free exercise of their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Cook County’s gun tax may seem like a victory for the gun grabbers, but it could be their Waterloo. Especially in rabidbly anti-gun Cook County. As always, watch this space . . .

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26 Responses to April Fool’s Day Cook County Gun Tax Heads to the Courts

  1. No matter how it gets spun it is a civil rights issue. “Shall not be infringed.” If showing a simple ID to vote or a poll tax is unconstitutional how can all the hurdles I have to jump to just buy a gun be legal? Never mind wanting to actually carry the gun. I live in Alameda County California, which apparently is a “constitution free” zone.

    Do we need gaurdsmen with bayonet tipped rifles to force the local government to allow us to exercise our rights? jwm reporting from behind enemy lines.

    • As in a few miles south of Berkeley, and near Oakland?

      That’s pretty much anti-gun central. For the record, you’re welcome to Orange County – CCW is actually possible and the women in Huntington Beach are some of the world’s finest. Don’t worry, the traffic is still terrible!

      • When next I move it will be out of California. Once my wife retires we will start looking for real. Take our retirement money and our assets to a more free state to spend them in.

        If the G is still allowing this site to run at that time I will send you word of how it is to live in a free state as opposed to Ca.

        Course, if Feinstein and crew get their way there may not be any free states left.

        Very close to berkely and oakland. I have in laws in oakland. Not a good place to visit.

        • Well, at this point I can’t recommend Colorado. We’re being steadily Californicated here.

        • I repect that. When I retire, I’m looking at the Mtns of northern Arizona, or perhaps southern WI

        • Pacific Northwest, baby. In Oregon at least, If you live in an urban area, a rural sheriff will usually issue an out-of-county CCW.

        • Forget Oregon. Washington State. Shall issue, with state preemption, so even if you live in Seattle, the Seattle Police Department or King County Sheriff have a maximum of 30 days to process your CPL application. If nothing comes up in those 30 days, they must issue the permit. If you felt like it, you could always open carry, which is legal without any permits.

    • Assemblyman Mulford (R – Alameda County) and Governor Ronald Reagan were responsible for the 1967 Mulford Act which banned loaded open carry, and began the modern gun control era in California. The Mulford Act was written, passed, and signed into law in response to people in Alameda County demanding their rights and fair treatment by local law enforcement.

      • Chris, the elections over. Now those civil rights defending dems can make all those evil gop gun laws go away. Won’t be long now and we’ll have constitutional carry and unlimited mags thanx to barry and gang.

  2. I never knew that the feds have created a hidden tax on guns and ammo. In practice the sellers simply add on that amount to their retail price to the consumer ie American citizen so therefore there has been an ongoing tax for some time. Since it can possibly be argued that those taxes and tariffs increase the price of guns and ammo isn’t that a form of infringement?

    Cook County’s gun tax may or not have created their ‘Waterloo’. If found legit (courts and especially Cook County Courts are not places of justice) the gun tax might spread.

    • The Cook County tax stays in Chicago and also wins them votes among the masses. Like many taxes it can easily be avoided until Cook County requires residents to provide proof of where and when they managed to buy a gun they can’t have and prove they paid a tax for crime expenses they didn’t incur against people they didn’t harm.

  3. Well, this begs for a bigger question: the Affordable Care Act allows for a 10% tax on indoor tanning. Is that racist?

    Excise taxes are the oldest type of taxes. Are certain excise taxes discriminatory and do they violate the 14th amendment? Apparently 53% of Americans frankly don’t give a damn.

    • The ACA has a 3.8% tax on the sale of your home to fund more free shit, how is the sale of your home related to Free Healthcare for the Masses?

  4. This can go either way. If upheld, other states will pile on. If it gets dropped, this will enforce gun rights. IMHO, the left leaning courts will say that the govt has the right to tax and that the tax does not infrindge. Given some states charge $100+ for a permit, and their has been no challenge to that, I don’t see this going well.

    • Don’t lose hope just yet. Make your voice heard, and don’t let it get muddied by side issues and party politics. If we want our 2A rights, we are going to have to focus hard on the 2A right now.

  5. With gun rights, there appears to be no bus to sit at the front of. The closest we have in common with other great civil rights movements is campus carry. When a dedicated group of students, in a carry state, walk onto “gun-free zone” campus, what will happen I wonder?

  6. This tax has two purposes. It’s anti-gun, and it’s meant to pay for the out of control spending. Spending is out of control at all levels, city, county, and state. Since the tax is anti-gun, it’s easy to pass in this mostly blue state.

  7. There is actually a much better legal precedent than the ones mentioned. In Minneapolis Star Tribune V. Commissioner the US Supreme Court ruled that a tax on printer’s ink was unconstitutional.

    Basically what they said was a tax on printer’s ink was an unconstitutional burden on the ability to publish a newspaper. I.e. a tax that effects a constitutional right, even if only peripherally, is unconstitutional. If taxing ink is unconstitutional, clearly taxing ammunition is as well.

  8. Good thing the Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates is in Kane County and the Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook is in DuPage County and the Bass Pro Shops in Gunree is in Lake County.

  9. Yeah, a 25 dollar tax on something you can’t own in Chicago will solve their budget woes. I love the colorful language used to describe the budget too.
    Candice the Reporter is a nice way to get the news delivered

    • Really, I thought all of Hoffman Estates was in Kane? Is it another city that spans counties? Well, hell. Cabela’s should pick up and move to Naperville.

  10. The county line is roughly just east of Rt. 25. Naperville would be good, or better yet, Randall road in Elgin. There is a abandoned Walmart on Randall just south of Big Timber. Cabela’s could fix that place up and have a great location. There is a Gander Mountain on Randall in the St. Charles – Geneva area too.

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