California: Five Cent Per Cartridge “Bullet Tax”

 That's be a nickel please (courtesy

As the Brits say, it never rains it only pours. Hot on the heels, or perhaps concurrent with, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner’s ammo sales registration and magazine misegos comes news of a couple of civilian disarmament bills aimed at killing one Amendment with two stones. “California should tax bullets to pay for mental-health programs and to put more police in crime- ridden areas, two Democratic state lawmakers proposed. One bill, by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of would impose a 5-cent tax per bullet sold to expand a program that screens children for mental illness. A similar measure from Oakland’s Rob Bonta would aid law enforcement in cities with the highest violent-crime rates.”


About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

84 Responses to California: Five Cent Per Cartridge “Bullet Tax”

  1. avatartdiinva says:

    Can you say black market? Bullets are untraceable items and Mexico is cloose at hand.

    • avatarSiliconValleyAlphaGeek says:

      This legislation is based on the reprehensible idea that ammunition lawfully purchased and owned by private citizens leads directly to use of same in violence involving firearms.

      Last time I checked, the gang-bangers, weed-growers, smugglers and drug-running bikers here in CA tended to prefer both guns and ammo acquired by (ahem) indirect means. Burglary, commercial theft, and theft from family members/acquaintances are all favored sources of both guns and ammo used in crimes.

      When I see proof that criminals are acquiring ammunition primarily via purchase at retail, then we can have a discussion about how to offset the negative societal value. I’ll look forward to that happening… never.

    • avatarAJ says:

      So is Nevada, and no passport needed and no waiting in line.

    • avatarDash says:

      My thoughts EXACTLY. This will spawn a MASSIVE black market.

  2. avatarDutchinDC says:

    Time to set up an Ammo superstore just across the border.

    • avatarSiliconValleyAlphaGeek says:

      PLEASE do not raise topics for discussion which will aid CA legislators in “improving” their bills to achieve more restrictive effects. Their legislative assistants do read discussions like this and apply the resulting knowledge during the amendment process.

      • avatarJSIII says:

        Screw them I would open a ammo store across the border and dare them to stop me. Find a good oathkeeper sheriff and set up shop in his county. Let the feds try to stop you.

      • avatarTotenglocke says:

        Jesus, give these spam posts a rest. It doesn’t matter what people do or do not say, every year the Soviet Republic of California will ban more and more guns, magazines, and ammunition. Being a PITA and spamming every posts with this crap won’t change anything and merely makes everyone dislike Californians even more.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          Toten, feel free to ignore every post on CA legislation. It will be good for your blood pressure, and you will have fewer opportunities to expose your ignorance regarding how things work in the real world.

        • avatarTotenglocke says:

          The post doesn’t bother me at all – I make the choice to live in a free state, thus I don’t have to worry about these things. What bothers me is people like you spamming crap that has no basis in reality and only serves to annoy the rest of the people reading the site. You’re like the guy on Facebook spamming crap about how Facebook is going to start charging money if you don’t repost their status.

        • avatarGSL45 says:

          I (unfortunately) live in California, and I’m aware of the possibility that some legislative aide could look at the comments to come up with future amendments.

          However, the proponents of stifling discussion of ways around proposed legislation are suffering from delusions of grandeur; do you feel that your insights (or someone else in the gun community) are so valuable that a legislator will seriously consider it and amend language? Don’t you think they already thought of that? Have you thought and considered the reason why there may be certain “loopholes” in the law is because they were placed there intentionally to make voting on it easier? Or, perhaps there are judicial decisions out there that they know of but you don’t, that would preclude any particular provision?

          Get over yourself. You’re not as smart or as quick as you think you are.

          At any rate, sunshine is the best disinfectant. I, for one, am not going to rely on some loophole to a loophole and carry on my activities in the shadows. If a draconian law without any meaningful exceptions is enacted, we’ll fight it court; I’m not going to cower in fear that I won’t be able to later rely on some creative interpretation of a vague law riddled with problems.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          Folks, I’m not making this stuff up. Over on the CalGuns forums it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that past discussions regarding proposed legislation have resulted in amendments which “fixed” the exact flaws and loopholes discussed. Fact.

          I don’t have delusions of grandeur, but I’m within my rights to ask you not to commit treason against the pro-2A cause by handing the Yee/Skinner crowd improvements to their legislation on a fucking silver platter.

          Yes, treason. Defined as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. If you really want to help them, you might consider eliminating the middleman and just emailing Ms. Skinner directly with your suggestions on ways to make her proposed restrictions as effective as possible.

        • avatarGSL45 says:

          And the 21-28 year old demographic on Calguns is reliable, how?

          Just because you heard it on the Internet doesn’t make it true.

        • avatarGSL45 says:

          I’ve seen that claim that SB-249 was amended as a result of discussions on that site. I have yet to see conclusive proof of it.

          That’s right – prove it up. Show me specific posts on that site that was the only place where a potential exception or flaw was mentioned, and how they coincide in time with when the amendment correcting said exception or flaw was made. Absent that proof, your claim is nothing but conjecture, and yes, the product of a delusional mind.

          The Foundation has some degree of respect, but the .Net is somewhat of a joke around the Internet gun culture, akin to some other semiauto firearms forums that are populated by the video game crowd and where every other post is “what AR lower should I get?”

      • avatarDutchinDC says:

        How is California going to legislate activity in another state? Sorry but there is nothing they can do other then lose money.

  3. avatarDavid says:

    That adds $25 to every box of 500 rounds of 22LR, or 500 rounds of anything

  4. avatarSome Guy says:

    Ct is proposing the same thing and they did before commiefornia did I think. In fact Beth Bye, was responsible for it….

  5. avatarJosh says:

    I’m with this… As long as the politicians are the first tested. You know, to see how effective it is… If none are locked up, this obviously doesn’t work.

  6. avatarDon says:

    So this will disproportionately hurt sport shooting and do pretty much nothing to hurt a criminal or spree killer…

  7. avatarFusterCluck says:

    I have got to get out of this f’ing state…

  8. avatarDutchinDC says:

    Time to set up an Ammo superstore right across the border next to the bunny tail ranch in NV.

  9. avatarDaniel Silverman says:

    You know we are having a hard time keeping up with this mess!

  10. avatarPascal says:

    So, since when do people who purchase bullets become the only ones who should fund mental health and police?

  11. avatarMy Name Is Bob says:

    How about a 5 cent per word tax for every d-bag politician out there. The money would go to fund needy politicians that have less than half a brain and require a transplant. We wouldn’t be limiting their 1st amendment rights, just taxing them, so it’s ok.

  12. avatarTirrus says:

    5¢! How outrageous, I wonder if they are going to try and apply that to .22.

  13. avatarB says:

    Maybe they should just tax bullets used in crimes. Perhaps a $500 per shot fired fine? The ones I put into paper targets aren’t the problem, why should I pay for something I’m not responsible for?

  14. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Might as well put a fat tax on gas to pay for all the carnage drunk drivers cause.

  15. 5 cents per round! Holy high velocity lead Batman!

  16. avatarLance says:

    This is why I would never live in Kalifornia.

  17. avatarchewcudda says:

    well .22 is not so damned cheap in cali with this huh?

  18. avatarNobody says:

    “One bill, by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of would impose a 5-cent tax per bullet sold to expand a program that screens children for mental illness.”
    Yeah, that will work. Government screening of children, and another tax to boot.

    Message to Californians: We all need to fight for you (NO sarcasm at all. I really think that’s where the fight is, along with other states). Fighting for you is the same as fighting for all of us. In the meantime, buy your ammo in an adjoining state.

  19. avatarJared357 says:

    How about my tax money that goes to funding criminals, i.e. a good portion of entitlements, politicians, corrupt government, birth control, cable tv for prisons, War on drugs( Fast and Furious) And ALL other bullshit(NDAA), they can go to mental health screenings and real solutions to stop violence.
    Rather than being taxed more, without representation…

  20. avatarBilly says:

    Wonder if that would apply to online sales or just ammo bought in the State?

  21. avatarNeil says:

    If the money collected benefits everyone, all should be taxed. To have only a few of the population pay for a service that helps all citizens in a given area sounds awfully close to communism in my opinion..

    • avatarSiliconValleyAlphaGeek says:

      Suddenly, “sin taxes” on specific products like cigarettes aren’t seeming like such a great idea from a precedent perspective. Ugh.

      • avatarBiofire says:

        Cigarette taxes made some sense since smoking increases health care costs to all of us. How anyone can make the same case for bullets is beyond me.

        • avatarNobody says:

          No, I respectfully disagree. Smokers die younger, and cost less in the long term. Either way, government should not control behavior.

          Freedom and liberty is the real issue. If you tax smoking, then tax overweight (not always obese), lack of exercise (determined my the government), eating habits (you KNOW that isn’t good for you to eat that, by government standards) and the list goes on. Where does it end?

          Liberty and freedom. That is our fight.

      • avatarNobody says:

        NEVER vote for a bureaucratic person to control behavior. It’s never what we think it will be.

  22. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    when is that state just going to slip into the ocean??

  23. avatarDisThunder says:

    Ah hell. Patriots, men (and women) of arms, it’s time for you get the hell out of there. You put up a good fight, and nobody is going to blame you for having to walk away. You just can’t win a battle of attrition when your enemy has nothing to lose.

    • Well unfortunately work, and PAY is much greater than in most states right now. At least for me it is.

      I would love to leave for their anti gun agenda, and being one of the greatest sources of lib-tard-logic-measures.

      This state is ALLLLLL about protecting us from ourselves. It’s pretty pathetic.

      I’ve watched the CRPA, CalGuns, and 2AF get VERY LITTLE DONE here in California. I’m considering not renewing my dues because frankly, where where these organizations? How is it we are constantly fighting legislation ,instead of proposing it. I have not seen a single bill on the ballot for pro-gun measures. Nothing, zilch. Instead of playing a crappy defense, we should be on the offense. Yee tried to ban the bullet button, DeLeon tried to ban internet ammo sales, we still abide by the ’94 AWB, we have a May Issue status, no Open Carry of pistols or long guns (thanks to the morons who protesting AT starbucks… that was so stupid), cities are trying to ban gun shows, we have a 10 day waiting period, regardless if you can show proof of existing ownership, our tax is nearly 10%, our income tax is higher than most states (correct me if im wrong), our roads are crumbling, crime is rampant in certain parts of the city, hell.. JUST TODAY a guy got shot 1 block from my house. About an hour ago. Wtf? I’m working from home too, so I feel safe home carrying. Thats besides the point. We have a duty to retreat here in Cali… Retreat? From what? The fight some scum bag brought to me? Pfft. This state would rather protect criminals than victims. If I had a DFG, I would be locked up, accused of murder, and held on some insane bail amount. The court would attempt to suggest that because I have a window in my bedroom, I should have jumped out of it because some guy was stealing my wares. What? Oh then the civil suite… Mr.Scumbag’s family will sue the hell out of me, and win, even though if Mr. Scumbag was found to be trespassing and meat an untimely death do to his aggressive behavior, the courts side with the victim… YEah… THE FAMILY of the scumbag who’s blood I’m still cleaning out of my god damn carpet while I await my trial.

      This state is RIDICULOUS.

  24. Unconstitutional. You can not tax a right.

  25. avatarHighvoltage says:

    Just bump gang members into a higher, special tax bracket. Proceeds from which, will go to support LE and community mental health initiatives. Gang bangers do pay taxes right? They must make campaign contributions and have better lobbyists than the NRA, since every law proposed will impact everyone except the law breakers, and somehow, according to the news, being a member of the NRA is equivalent to being in anti-government fringe group.

    Just saying that a gang member is more likely to break the law with their firearms than the legal, legitimate gun owner.

  26. avatarDavid says:

    Someone needs to propose some counter legislation. No taxes on anything firearm related: guns, ammo, stocks, etc. Repeal every gun control law ever created and citizens can carry guns anywhere they please. As a matter of fact, why don’t we also fund the shooting sports esp. those that assist military training, just like Switzerland does? If someone wants to be crazy they’ll probably have to move to another country.

  27. avatarj says:

    Mark my words; this is going to fly through most other states – and the Fed. I have feared all along they would eventually “wise up” and hit us in the ammo rather than the arms…

    • avatarSiliconValleyAlphaGeek says:

      If this passes (which, frankly, I don’t think it will) then reloading is about to get a whole lot more popular. I think I’ll go back to the place that put new tires on my vehicle last week and slip the counter guy a 20 to “prime the pump” for access to his supply of used lead wheel weights.

      • avatarAlan says:

        You had better check on that. I think lead wheel weights are already outlawed in Kali. I would suggest a source, but I dont want to give your lawmakers any ideas.

    • avatarMudPuppy says:

      By definition arms includes ammunition. They cant ban it, but they can tax it. If the tax gets big though, you may have a 2A case.

  28. avatarLarry says:

    I remember as a kid, growing up in that state (35 years ago, dont live there now) we learned about the San Andreas fault and how if “the big one” hit us that the state could break off and fall into the ocean.

    Can that please happen soon.

  29. Thats $50 per 1k. F’dat. I’ll gladly spend my money out of state.

  30. The scary part is this state is SOOOOOO BROKE… They might get away with it. Meanwhile, they have 3 bills on the ballot for medical marijuana. Tax and anti-proliferation bills, two of which the industry approves of. Thats all fine and dandy, but do we add a tax to alcohol to fund DUI checkpoints, more police, domestic violence counselors, and mental health?

    • avatarAharon says:

      California is beyond broke. California is bankrupt and in huge debt. States cannot legally declare bankruptcy as can cities

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        Actually, I hate to break it to you guys, but the CA budget situation is significantly improved over previous years. CA may not be all the way to break-even, but it’s not too far off.

        There’s, um, actual news stories on this and everything.

        • avatarLarry says:

          So their deficit is now under control (spend at or less than they take in…in one year) but the debt is out of control.

          Fixing a deficit is way easier to do (stop spending raise taxes) but paying of your crazy debt is very hard to do.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          One step at a time, Larry. I’m not sure what your point is — are you saying that CA should have continued to engage in deficit spending?

          It’s not like CA voluntarily drove off the cliff — when the economy collapsed (thanks, GWB!) the revenue base for state funding took a massive hit. Frankly, the fact that we made it through the last 4 years without the state going into default is the best outcome that could reasonably have been expected.

  31. avatarSammy says:

    Ironically, I just overheard two yuts discussing getting honest jobs and giving up their lucrative home invasion business because this bullet tax was the last straw. Seems it would throw their overhead projections all to hell and back, plus all the new laws that were being enacted equaled enough incentive to make them turn law abiding. Stupidity off.

  32. avataradamt says:

    I would gladly pay an extra 10 cent tax on ammo but only if it went to fund a giant saw to cut California off of North America and set it adrift. Lance that bitch off like a skin tag

  33. avatarBill in Il says:

    This is the height of irresponsibility from the scum bags. The State is broke, no idea how they are going to pay for their debt and liabilities, and they have to know this will be challenged in the courts and they will most likely lose like the ammo tax did here. Millions more to defend the insanity they keep coming up with. What is it about California politicians.

  34. avatarJavier says:

    Does this fall into the Taxation without representation realm? Taxing ammo to help out WHO? Those against the 2nd amendment. Taxing ammo should equal new rifle teams in schools. WE didn’t commit the crime for which we are being punished for. But lets not hang the bureaucrats that miss manage(stole) the money.

  35. avatarDoomsdayJames says:

    I can’t believe this is happening in my country. We have totally lost our minds.

  36. avatarDutchinDC says:

    How is California going to legislate activity in another state? Sorry but there is nothing they can do other then lose money.

  37. avatarBen says:

    This is blatantly unconstitutional. The state can’t attempt to stigmatize or chill the exercise of a civil right through taxation.

  38. avatarAharon says:

    A 500 box of .22 LR costs roughly $25 give or take a bit (I’ve seen Federal as low as $18 in Portland).
    A box of 500 rounds x .05 cents proposed tax = $25.00.
    Therefore, California is proposing a tax that will roughly equal or exceed 100% of the price on a 500 round box of .22 LR.

  39. avatarDave S says:

    Politicians have never met a tax they did not like.

  40. avatarpat says:

    Five cents per cartridge tax if your a commie libtard.

  41. avatarAharon says:

    I’m not qualified to give sound legal advice. Is taxing ammo legal? If yes, is taxing ammo legal by each and every round in the box? Guns and ammo are dependent on the other. Without one the other will not work. If the state makes ammo cost prohibitive to buy (especially for .22 LR users) is there a legal argument that the state is seeking to orchestrate an indirect illegal ban on guns? Are there any other products that the state seeks to tax by each individual unit within the container separate from the overall selling price?

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Oh, don’t worry — I’m sure there will be exemptions for current and retired LEO/LEA types. That will make it all kosher, right?

  42. avatarCA_Chris says:

    No sooner would the bill be passed than the money would end up in someone’s pocket while the programs the money is supposed to fund would be cut completely for lack of funds.

  43. avatarCasey T says:

    Does this apply to cartridges or actual bullets? If it’s cartridges, there is a solution and it involves RCBS, Lee, Lyman, Dillon, Hornady, or other. You should get my drift.

    The other thought I have is why in the hell do these idiots keep getting elected? The state is effectively broke and a complete disaster and yet, there are democrats in charge again. Don’t the citizens care about having money and not losing civil rights? The definition of insanity is performing the same action and expecting a different result. California is insane.

  44. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    We need to work toward firearm ownership as a civil right. I don’t hear about blacks riding in the back of the bus anymore. Minority rights are not under attack & neither should the right to defend oneself. Well, the lawsuits, they are a commin, Randy

    • avatarCarrymagnum says:

      Looks like Randy likes Bob D. I wonder what he’d have to say about all this. The man, the myth, the legend.

  45. avatarJohn Bergmann says:

    Lots of comments here…I called at least three assembly offices after reading this today and asked why exactly my lawful conduct was the target of more taxes and regulation. Only one took my info to “get back to me”.
    Left a message with my district senator too.
    Doin’ what I can I guess.

  46. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Because criminal punks spend so much time target practicing…

  47. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    Didn’t they try this before in California?

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