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The Second Amendment does not bar states and localities from imposing taxes on firearms and ammunition, provided the tax is not so high as to put gun ownership out of the reach of the ordinary consumer, thereby burdening gun ownership and infringing on the rights contemplated by the Second Amendment.

Yet there is, or should be, more effort put into the goal of defraying the costs of gun violence. Taxing firearms at a flat rate may help states and localities cope with the astronomical healthcare expenses for gunshot victims, but it would probably not do much to reduce gun violence.

For that, what is needed is a change in the behavior of gun owners. Gun control regulation could influence behavior, but taking that route is akin to attempting to stay on the back of an angry bull. The easier and probably more effective way to change behavior is through a carefully crafted tax structure.

There is nothing novel in using the tax code to influence taxpayer behavior. For example, a state may encourage consumers in the market for a new car to purchase an electric instead of a gas model by giving shoppers a generous tax incentive for doing so.

Moreover, the revenue from taxing firearms has been used for close to a century to pay for conservation efforts, so why shouldn’t the revenue from such taxes be used to protect people? Considering the Second Amendment is no bar to taxing firearms, a properly structured tax would be a much more effective method for controlling the availability of select types of guns, including assault weapons, simply by raising the cost of ownership.

In other words, this route would silence gun control opponents who use the Second Amendment as a shield against reform. Using the tax code could shift the argument from one of a violation of rights to one that protects gun owners’ rights while lowering the negative costs gun ownership imposes on the rest of society.

Further, mass shootings tend to be carried out by shooters that own an arsenal of guns, and an excise tax could be structured to alleviate concerns to some extent.

The instances of a single individual accumulating many weapons could be reduced by making the first purchase of a gun tax free and then imposing an incremental tax on subsequent purchases.

However, the increase would have to be substantial, perhaps in increments of 10 percent per weapon. Under such an approach, by the time a buyer reaches a certain number of purchases, the amount of tax could potentially reach at least one-half of the firearm’s value.

— Roxanne Bland in The Second Amendment, Taxes, And Gun Control

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126 COMMENTS

  1. There is one of two ways this will end. We either crush fascism in this country, which means removing all folks connected to the left from public office and the education system at bayonet point. Or we submit to tyranny and freedom dies.

      • Not so fast mr. sneaky taxman bland…The idea of you attempting to hang the acts of criminals around the neck of my cherished Second Amendment makes me fighting mad. Now if I don’t like your antics mr. bland think how God doesn’t like pompous nitwits like you who want to monkey around with the God Given Right of Self Defense. The following is for you and your ilk to chew on…

        1) The Second Amendment is one thing.

        2) The criminal misuse of firearms, bricks, bats, knives, vehicles, etc. is another thing.

        3) History Confirms Gun Control in any shape, matter or form is a racist and nazi based Thing.

    • jwm,

      I would suggest that we might still have a chance to “right the ship” (our nation) at the voting booths.

      Sadly, the 2020 general election showed us “that ship has sailed”, at least in terms of voting for Pre$ident of the U.S. And there is decent evidence that the “Powers of Darkness” who corrupted the Pre$idential election may have also corrupted the election for U.S. Senators in Georgia.

      I have to keep reminding myself that an evil entity doesn’t have to pull-off widespread election fraud of every office to establish and keep control: that evil entity only needs to rig election results at a few key precincts, in a few key states, at a few key elections to establish and maintain control–at least at the federal level.

      I am not seeing a pleasant, easy, and peaceful future.

      • “I am not seeing a pleasant, easy, and peaceful future.”

        …and you are likely correct… 🙁

  2. “…what is needed is a change in the behavior of gun owners.”

    No, what is needed is a change in the behavior of criminals who commit 90%+ of the non-suicide shootings in the U.S. Law-abiding gun owners are just that, law-abiding. We are not the ones responsible for the cost of “gun violence” (I hate that term). Unless you count the occasional perp sent to the emergency room from a legitimate DGU, but that’s not our problem, lady.

    “Further, mass shootings tend to be carried out by shooters that own an arsenal of guns, and an excise tax could be structured to..blah blah blah”

    Correlation does not equal causation, and you can stuff your excise tax.

    Like every gun control “solution”, her proposals punish law-abiding individuals, and do nothing to curb criminals.

    • Working from memory here, but I can only think of one mass shooter that owned what could be considered an arsenal, the Vegas shooter, and he was worth a couple million dollars. It usually seems to be 3 or 4 weapons. The Sandy Hook shooter owned no guns at all.

      • I believe you are correct. And IIRC, the Va. Tech shooter only owned two pistols, and one of those was a .22 (Walter P22, IIRC).

      • Libtards call a shotgun and a rifle in the same residence an ‘arsenal’. And, possession of 100 rounds of ammunition is proof of intent. You can’t win with these morons who redefine terms to meet their political goals. This is why we don’t talk to them in their own terms. Modern sporting rifles don’t equate to assault weapons, and they never should have.

    • Correct. Given that criminals acquire firearms at 80% through unlawful, uncontrolled means, such a tax would have almost zero impact on the behavior of criminals, since such a tax would never be collected.

      • The tax would be collected but not from the criminals who misuse the weapons but from their victims from whom they stole the firearms.

        • It’s the same logic as taxing bikinis and women’s underwear — or making women wear sofa covers with slits for them to look through — to defray the high cost of providing medical care for rape victims.

  3. This person isn’t very historically literate, are they. Our ancestors rebelled over depriving rights through onerous taxes.

  4. People are paying thousands upon thousands not only to acquire but to store, accessorize, build, maintain, carry, and practice. No one will be disincentivized to own guns. If anything, it will incentivize more people to be gun owners and fight back.

    It never stopped people from smoking. What would make people stop buying guns?

    • “It never stopped people from smoking. What would make people stop buying guns?”

      What stopped smoking was a combination of ever-increasing tobacco taxes (pack of smokes today is about 6 dollars) and public shaming.

      “Ewwwww! look at the gross smoker! I bet he trolls TTAG like a demented chimpanzee!”.

      The second part is in play now on the 2A, look how they speak about gun owners. Training Leftist Scum to be disgusted…

      • It’s good of Geoff to share his opinions on this forum, as we POTG could use more of the LGBTQ perspective that ‘he’ brings….

        • Aww, nameless troll, I’m so sorry this happened to you! Poor troll, Geoff won’t give you his number, no matter how hard you beg. And troll haz a sad.

          I, on the other hand, laugh my @$$ off at your demented stalking of Geoff, which only encourages him to abuse you more (I’d have said “embarrass you more”, but you are obviously incapably of embarrassment . . . or shame . . . or ratiocination).

          Sucks to be you, dunnit??

        • “It’s good of Geoff to share his opinions on this forum,…”

          It always is, so, remember that, demented chimpanzee, you’re contributing nothing positive to the discourse of this fine forum.

          Dance, troll, I order you to continue to make an ass of yourself!

          You will do as you are ordered, and *never* forget that! 😉

    • “…we will need to know what guns you have previously purchased so that we can tax you appropriately.”

      Bingo, gun registration.

      And you just know that tax will be annual, and if you fail to re-up, you get a knock on your door…

      • Two men went up ols Rocky Top, looking for moonshne stills. They ain’t come down old Rocky Top, reckon they wever will….”

      • If they are knocking on your door they already have the form in hand with your signature to help “refresh” your memory… Never lie to those assholes about something unless you are absolutely positive that they can’t prove it…

        • If they are knocking on my door with such a form in their hands, they are likely to be very surprised at what they discover in *my* hands, though only for a moment.

  5. As if collecting an arsenal of 75 firearms makes one less likely to be a mass shooter than amassing an arsenal of 100.

    Besides, if poor (black a brown) people want the right to keep and bear arms they should stop being poor.

      • And her very last line:

        “Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.” — Kamala Harris

        That reeks of communism.

        Perhaps even more disturbing, her statement is a flat-out lie since the Ruling Class will be head-and-shoulders above the Working Class in her vision of “equity”. Thus “we” most certainly do NOT all end up in the same place.

        • Communism doesn’t lift people up. It drags everyone down to lowest level. Except for the elites of course.

        • If we all end up at the same place, maybe that demented whore will be working an 8 to 5 cubicle job like me instead of haunting the White House.

          See, there’s a silver lining in everything.

        • ““Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.” — Kamala Harris

          That reeks of communism.”

          They are counting on someone not understanding that ‘equality’ is not ‘equity’.

          They say ‘equity’ and ‘equitable’ counting on the listener not understanding the difference between that and equality…

        • Yeah, but she is close to correct, the vast majority will end up in exactly the same place, flat broke and starving. *Precisely* what happened in Venezuela.

  6. What a twit! She is equating revenues derived from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses as taxes. There are no taxes on firearms and ammunition paying for wildlife habitat. The sales taxes go into state general funds, where they are squandered on light rail, welfare, and Leftist boondoggles.

  7. It is precisely because the OP’s premises are largely true that we ought to consider a Constitutional amendment forbidding governments (Feds, states and municipalities) from using tax law to pursue incidental goals. (How to do that is a really tough problem.)

    There is no question that governments must tax; and, that they must have broad powers to tax. Yet, the objective of taxation ought to be to raise revenue to pursue the legitimate operations of government. It ought to be forbidden to tax with any alternative goal.

    So long as government remains free to pursue non-revenue generating goals thru taxation it WILL DO SO to evade other Constitutional restrictions where there is no rational basis to a law forbidding/mandating direct laws on-point. It’s especially egregious when the real goal is to infringe, abridge or otherwise influence behavior which is a protected right.

    General taxes, such as value-based property taxes or sales taxes, don’t pose much of a problem. Conversely, excise taxes directed at particular enumerated objects DO pose a serious problem.

    The NFA`34 taxes are particularly egregious. First, because they are not revenue-producing; and, second, because they manifestly infringe on a protected right. I need not elaborate.

    To understand the problem we need to look to edge examples: say, alcohol and tobacco excise taxes. Tragically, Section 2 of the 21st Amendment probably strips Americans of any right to drink alcohol; leaving the states no speed-bump to implementing any policy whatsoever. If the states wish to inhibit alcohol consumption by taxation they are probably empowered to do so.

    Conversely, there is no such power with respect to tobacco. Let’s immediately concede that tobacco is dangerous to health. Yet, so is sky diving, Corvette driving and thousands of other legal activities. Imagine empowering our municipalities, states and especially the Feds to tax our decisions in respect of every legal product or activity. Say, for example, to tax our ownership of pit bulls differently from Chihuahuas. Or, to tax our purchases of bibles differently from Korans. There is no obvious Constitutional impediment to the discriminating dog tax whereas the 1A probably stands to forbid discrimination among sacred scripts.

    Should we accept this sort of discrimination for dogs if we reject it for Bibles/Korans? Why? What rationale should justify government policy influencing our consumption of goods and activities which are otherwise perfectly legal?

    Theoretically, I’d like to see some prohibition against narrowly targeted excise taxes. Unfortunately, that’s probably a bridge too far. What might be practical is to forbid (Constitutionally) taxation which is not revenue generating. This wouldn’t fully solve the problem. However, it would “cap” the problem.

    Clearly, such a prohibition would be sufficient to forbid the Hughes Amendment. Likewise, the taxation of SBSs and SBRs. It would set the argument for silencers. Moving silencers from NFA`34 to GCA`68 would be revenue-enhancing because the 10/11% sales tax on silencers would probably generate more revenue than the $200 tax on transfers.

    The NYC excise tax on cigarettes would also come under jeopardy on the grounds that butt-legging cigarettes from Indian reservations is so pervasive that a lower rate of NYC tax would be revenue enhancing.

    We, the voters, need to decide whether we remain comfortable with the idea that we can pursue our personal vendettas against goods and activities we don’t like at the cost of our neighbors taxing our own proclivities. Who benefits? Is it not the politicians who pander to our prejudices?

    • Premises are largely true?

      How will ANY tax hinder the desire or ability of violent criminals to obtain firearms? Please show your work.

      • When you tax something, you generally do get less of it. And the enabling assumption in this progtard’s screed is that all gun owners are inherently criminal, so…

    • “…we ought to consider a Constitutional amendment forbidding governments (Feds, states and municipalities) from using tax law to pursue incidental goals.”

      Far too dangerous to call a constitutional convention.

      That’s a real good way to get bush-whacked, rights-wise…

    • “To understand the problem we need to look to edge examples: say, alcohol and tobacco excise taxes.”

      Alcohol and tobacco aren’t expressly constitutionally-protected…

    • Let’s immediately concede that tobacco is dangerous to health. Yet, so is sky diving, Corvette driving

      I’ve owned (and driven) Corvettes my entire life and have NEVER been harmed or felt in danger while cruising around in one… In fact, chances of being injured or killed in a Honda Civic or a Toyota Celica are 6 times higher… I must admit though I’ve never owned an arsenal of Corvettes, that might put things in a different perspective and I’ve never been overcome with the desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane…

  8. “The Second Amendment does not bar states and localities from imposing taxes on firearms and ammunition …”

    not exactly, it depends on the type of tax (e.g. sales and excise tax may be constitutional, but a “special use” type tax to be able to exercise the right is not constitutional) but overall….

    Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 1943, SCOTUS ruled that “A State may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution.”

    (no, unfortunately this does not at this time apply to the NFA because it was established based on the commerce clause, its a longer story but basically its why Biden is now looking at it because its establishment under the commerce clause was constitutional.)

    The concept of a tax on enjoyment of a right is based on a racists concept of poll tax. For example the Virginia poll tax that once was levied on black people to vote.

  9. I can see the black market starting up now. Nice way to change behavior. What does it say about someone who’s ideas actually creates crime?

    • LOL…Start? There’s a robust black market south of Chiraq & in NW Indiana. Whatever you want on fakebook-“let’s meet at the range”. Wink wink. Homie at the Health club offering gats. There IS an “Iron Pipeline”. It’s naive to believe otherwise…

      • former,

        Wow. Thanks for grasping the obvious. ANYTIME government bans something that is in demand, the demand doesn’t “go away”, it goes to the black market. Like “loosies”, moonshine (which is increasing as alcohol taxes increase), drugs (that “War on Drugs” sure was a roaring success, wasn’t it???). Now they want to replay that tired, failed, stupid playbook with guns, ammunition, accessories, etc.

        I used to rail against this idiotic government reaction. Now, I’m sort of “all in” on it. Go ahead. Ban guns. Tax guns. All you’ll do is increase the prices to the point where it becomes PROFITABLE for those with some slight technical know-how to begin making and selling them on the black market. It ain’t rocket surgery. Here’s hoping the gummint’s “ban” on assault rifles will work as well as its “War on Drugs”. Be fun to watch, anyway (and I might even make a few shekels off of their ahistorical idiocy).

  10. “The [Fifteenth] Amendment does not bar states and localities from imposing taxes on [voting], provided the tax is not so high as to put [casting ballots] out of the reach of the ordinary [voter], thereby burdening [casting ballots] and infringing on the rights contemplated by the [Fifteenth] Amendment.”

    (P.S. TTAG your dynamic ads make this site virtually unusable on mobile.)

  11. Seattle taxes firearms and ammunition. So far, they haven’t spent a dime of it on helping lower the cost of crimes committed with firearms. It’s cost people their jobs and moved retailers out of the city.

  12. “Further, mass shootings tend to be carried out by shooters that own an arsenal of guns”

    In almost every instance, the gun used by the shooter was purchased weeks to a month before they carried out their attack

  13. “The instances of a single individual accumulating many weapons could be reduced by making the first purchase of a gun tax free and then imposing an incremental tax on subsequent purchases.”

    And how would we do that? Why, track all of the guns a person has, of course.

    Ms. Bland can go pound sand.

    • Other than Vegas, how many mass shooters actually use more than, say, 10 firearms in a mass killing? I’d call 100 guns an “arsenal” (at least a small one), how many people have ever even carried that many to a murder, much less used them all?
      And Jimmy, you’re correct, usually all “common sense” gun control circles right back to a registry, and always has for near 100 years, now.

  14. How about we add cash fines to every guilty verdict in a violent crime trial.
    Oh, that wont net anything at all and it wont stop violent crime either.
    This is because you cant control criminal behavior, all you can do is keep them in jail to stop them from committing more crimes.

  15. Here’s a better idea: everyone who doesn’t own a gun and/or who supports gun control should be paying a high tax to defray the costs of the police and other first responders necessary for their safety. Gun owners do not have to pay the tax because they are taking some responsibility for their own safety.

    • Dev,

      Works for me.

      For all intents and purposes, police are never right next to us. Therefore police are physically incapable of providing any protection at the onset of a criminal attack. Any tax money earmarked for police personal protection (from criminal attack) is therefore a scam.

      Righteous police function is investigating suspicious activity and actual crimes. And we can make a compelling case for various “preserving the peace” functions. Anything beyond that is a scam.

      • Actually, quite a bit is spent on police to provide personal protection. Problem is, that’s only for politicians and other elites.

  16. If you set the precedent that a right exercise can be taxed, you set the precedent that can be extended to all other rights at some point.

    If we taxed the medias first amendment rights, what would they say then?

    • US Code 241, but it does take 2 or more. But there may be something to this as 2, or more, sponsors of bills from our elected, or unelected officials.
      Or maybe me not being a lawyer I’m reading into this incorrectly.

  17. Taxes only apply to law-abiding gun owners who purchase their firearms legally.

    This does nothing to stop criminals who don’t pay taxes in the first place.

    • I like how she says “so why shouldn’t the revenue from such taxes be used to protect people?” I am not sure how they are saying the money collected would protect people, other than the mythical “discourage lawful people buying guns means less guns in existence equals safety” equation.

      Any money collected will be promptly wasted in government bureaucracy so the most efficient solution would be to just provide small paper shredders at the point of sale and you could insert $20 or $100 as a guilt offering to appease the gun violence god.

  18. How about EAT SHIT AND DIE,
    Keep your taxes & your assanine hands off my guns & out of my pockets.
    If you want my stash, YOU come & get em scumbag.

  19. “The Second Amendment does not bar states and localities from imposing taxes on firearms and ammunition, provided the tax is not so high as to put gun ownership out of the reach of the ordinary consumer, thereby burdening gun ownership and infringing on the rights contemplated by the Second Amendment.”

    So why is the 1st. Amendment not taxed? Because a RIGHT cannot be subjected to taxation.
    Sales Tax applies equally to all consumer goods. A special tax on guns and ammunition is discriminatory if that tax is not applied across the board to all consumer goods.

    • Actually, if you take the time to read all 27 words, you’ll discover 2A *DOES!* bar states and localities from imposing taxes on firearms and ammunition, which are not imposed on other goods. So, you could impose 100% tax on firearms and ammunition so long as you also pay it on automobiles and fishing poles.

  20. More Bland bloviating from Forbes; they use to be a conservative icon and then they rotted from within by hiring the id10t communications majors.

  21. Taxing firearms at a flat rate may help states and localities cope with the astronomical healthcare expenses for gunshot victims, but it would probably not do much to reduce gun violence.

    Yeah the local criminal element is CONSTANTLY complaining about their taxes… And I don’t EVEN want to get started on the ignorance of that “arsenal” BS… To them an arsenal is a rifle, a shotgun, a couple of handguns and a hundred rounds of ammo… GFY gun-grabber… The only “mass shooter” I’m aware of with a REAL arsenal was the dumbass in Vegas…

  22. Okay. Now apply that same tax and logic to voting and tell me how you feel.

    Stop trying to change the ‘behavior’ of lawful gun owners and change the behavior of those that the see criminal life as some kind of sub-culture and restore the family formula.

    • You mean promote the family unit, morals, and the easily attainable goal for any young person to move out of poverty and into the middle class? There’s no incentive for that. The status quo works too well for Democrats. As a matter of fact, they’re rapidly moving in the opposite direction from that.

  23. The funny thing about the mental midget behind the source article thinks that they have a new idea. I’m 40 and I’ve seen news articles floating the idea of taxing the 2A out of existence since at least the mid 90s, back when I started reading the news as a teenager.

    • They are just so SLY!! Certainly no one will notice the intent to violate the second, particularly when that is the stated intent.

    • But they keep trying because they are never held accountable. Iirc this has been tried more than once before and they know it but they try again to “do something “.

    • “I’m pretty sure a tax targeted against gun sales was struck down as unconstitutional; taxes cannot be used to dissuade people from exercising constitutional rights.”

      Aaron, read the article again :

      “The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Cook County tax on gun purchases is unconstitutional, but it left the door open for a more tailored tax that specifically goes toward mitigating gun violence and its effects.”

      What the court actually said was (paraphrasing) : “Write the law again, a little more carefully next time”.

      That was not a victory, that was a warning…

      • What the court actually said was (paraphrasing) : “Write the law again, a little more carefully next time”.
        That was not a victory, that was a warning

        In other words give us a reason to give SCOTUS a reason to overturn us…

  24. How many times can people demand disarming law abiding gun owners, before every law abiding gun owner rebels (politically)?

    Gun grabbers are not about reducing violent acts committed with a firearm. Gun grabbers, and the quivering, quaking mob, are only concerned with having a 100% guarantee that when they go to “nice” places, where “nice” people congregate, no normally “nice” looking person will suddenly snap and go on a shooting spree among “nice” persons.

    Gun control tyrants have no, none, zero interest in ending the killings and injuries by illegal gun owners in the inner cities. This is where 2A defenders should be attacking the politicians and enablers of gun control. Force the gun controllers to measure up to their own standards.

    • Do you think that anything will stop the illegal purchasing, ownership, or use of weapons by gangs and drug dealers within the Democratically Controlled Cities? Every large Democratically controlled city is a cesspool of crime and murder because they do not know how to govern.
      Return to the laws on the books and deal with criminals in the same way they deal with society. Return to Public Hangings/

  25. taxes on gun ownership is an infringement upon and of one’s 2nd A rights. ….shall not be infringed…rings a bell.
    Abolish the ATF
    Abolish all gun control laws.

  26. Does anybody both Liberal or Concervative, Republican or Democrat, radical or pacifist, (I hope that covers everybody), truly believe that taxing guns will remove the thousands of guns out there that are in the hands of criminals, gangs, and other people? Why was an article like this even published? What are law abiding citizens suppose to defend themselves with against a tyrannical government to criminals on the street that have no morals or value for human life?

    • “Does anybody….truly believe that taxing guns will remove the thousands of guns out there that are in the hands of criminals, gangs, and other people?

      Those groups are irrelevant to the discussion so, no.

  27. I’ll skip over all the other bullshit and Grosjean, but how about this little lie

    “mass shootings tend to be carried out by shooters that own an arsenal of guns”

    Even excluding the gang shootings that never get covered (done by small group of guys with the one or two pistols they obtained illegally) all the ones I can think of stole their weapons or got a single gun for the occasion. In-fact, the only one I can think of that came remotely close to having an “arsenal” is the same one the FBI and LVPD “lost” all data on (remember, LVPD is normally very good about releasing body cam reflexively) and could never explain how he could afford those things.

  28. We all are taxed on our firearms, at least those that live where there is a sales tax. I feel that your first firearm is a necessity, so any basic self protection firearm should be tax free, or at least, use the tax to pay for a first day lesson at the range.
    While I agree that you can read the instructions and safety rules, which ought to be good enough, I have met many people in my life who think they know it all. Using the sales tax for some instruction(if you choose to do so) would be a great idea.

  29. I don’t think so!What does your average gun owner have to do with crimes committed,murder’s,or anything to do with being taxed?

  30. Herrington v. United States (D.C. Court of Appeals, 2010) established as case law the principle that 2A also protects ammunition. So you might find a work-around that doesn’t directly impeded the exercise of 2A but openly stating you’re doing it to limit the availability of ammunition won’t cut it.

  31. So you want us to be ok with another tax just to satisfy the rest of your gun hating, 2A mocking, liberal idiots. OK…let me think about it for a minute. Yeah…NO!!!!! How bout that, huh? Thanks and have a Golf Foxtrot Yankee day!!!

  32. Headline is wrong. Should be

    “FREEDOM-LOVING AMERICA: Let’s Get Creative and Use BOYCOTTS to DESTROY CRONY-COMMIE-FASCIST FORBES MAGAZINE

  33. My first thought: “Come to Billy Bob’s Gun Emporium for our new holster special. Buy one of our $600 holsters and get a matching handgun for $10.” (Appropriate firearms taxes will have to be applied to the gun, sorry.)

  34. “My first thought: “Come to Billy Bob’s Gun Emporium for our new holster special. Buy one of our $600 holsters and get a matching handgun for $10.” ”

    Indeed. Similar arrangement still lives on eBay; low selling price, high dollar shipping charge.

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