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Sometimes, my job is just too easy. I mean, when you get handed a story like this one, the bloody thing practically writes itself. I mean, you gotta love it when a Baltimore mayoral candidate in September’s primary comes up with a plan to combat gun violence by slapping a $1 tax per bullet on ammo within the city. Um. Yeah. So how’s THAT gonna help? (Hint: Not one bit.) Furthermore…

You gotta give props to candidate Otis Rolley. I mean, talk about fearless. Politicians say some stupid things, but this one – this one is right up there with talking up the Great Pumpkin, right before the big student council election. Of course, that’s not his entire platform. He also wants to improve recruitment standards (hard to disagree with that one), work with the media to “increase awareness of wanted suspects” (?) and wants to “reduce the number of vacant properties.” (??)

Getting back to the bullets thing, Rolley claims that the ordinance would put a higher price tag on committing crime, and decrease “random firings that too often happen around the holidays.” Um. Yeah. Last time I looked at a map, Baltimore wasn’t too far from a bunch of other places – say, Annapolis, Rockville, D.C., and Lancaster – that have no bullet tax. Don’t you think, just maybe, the only effect your law will have is to kill your tax revenues on ammo completely, as people vote with their feet and travel out of the city to buy ammo?

In the South, we suffered from a case of arrested development for years, under the so-called “Blue Laws,” which forbade liquor sales on Sundays (along with a long list of equally-bizarre items), and a history that allowed a complete ban on liquor sales with the so-called “local option.” As a result, you can have a “dry” area and 50 feet away, find a bunch of liquor stores.

Wanna drink in Lubbock? You have to go just outside the city limits, but when you do, you’ll find a string of booze shops as far as a couple of city blocks, each doing a land-office business in booze. The result of the law? It has not decreased drinking within Lubbock one whit. But all that tax revenue left the city and headed South. A bullet tax would have the same effect, or lack thereof. No decrease in violence, but a dramatic drop in tax revenues on ammo. Genius.

Not being from ’round those parts, I called a buddy of mine in Maryland to get the 411 on the Mayoral candidates. He’d never heard of Mr. Rolley. Apparently, he’s a former director of city planning. He’s up against a city councilman, the circuit court clerk, an independent candidate, and the president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. I’ve no idea either of the ethnic demographics in Baltimore.

From what I’ve read, it has a predominantly black population. Only one of the candidates (the realtor) is Anglo, while the rest of the declared field is black. But I am aware that Baltimore has huge problems with murder, gang violence, rape and gun crimes. What’s sad is that I suspect most of the candidates buy into the idea that if only they could find some way to get rid of all the guns, they’d get rid of all the violence.

Will Rolley’s bullet tax hit its target? Too soon to tell. He’s got to win first. But if it is enacted, and the only effect in Baltimore is to see tax revenues for ammunition plummet, don’t be surprised when I say “I told you so.”

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  1. The sonofabitch! He totally stole that joke from Chris Rock’s HBO stand up special Bigger and Blacker!

    “You don’t need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. Man, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. I think all bullets should cost $5000. $5000 for a bullet. You know why? ‘Cause if a bullet costs $5000, there’d be no more innocent bystanders. … Every time someone gets shot, people will be like, “Damn, he must have did something. He put $50,000 worth of bullets in his ass!” Niggas will say “I would blow your fucking head off–if I could afford it! I’m gonna get me another job, I’m gonna start saving some money, and then you’re dead man!. You better hope I can’t get no bullets on layaway!”-Chris Rock

    What?! It isn’t a joke to this guy!

  2. How much do we love Chris Rock? A lot.

    My favorite Chris Rock line: A man is a faithful as his options.

  3. The difference is Lubbock finally learned from its mistake and is now a wet city. Every Skinny’s there got bought out by the Pinky’s franchise. Somehow I have a feeling this Rolley guy might not be as smart (if he wins, of course).

    • When did Lubbock become completely wet I knew you could buy beer and wine in town at restraints, but you could not purchase hard liquoer in town to take home for personal consumption. I thought the only way for lubbock to become completely wet was for the students to all become registered voters and vote it wet like the SHSU students did in Huntsville in the 1980’s

    • I haven’t been back there in several years (and I’m not eager to change that status). But I remember having to drive Hell ‘n gone south of town to a liquor store. I kept thinking, “is it really worth humoring the prohibitionists, to lose all those tax dollars?”

  4. Irock—
    It’s a pretty recent thing. I want to say it happened about a year ago. All I know is the last couple of times I went they’ve had full-blown liquor stores inside the city limits. As for how, well…your guess is as good as mine.

    Dammit. All this talk about liquor has me hoping for that tax to pass. Not because I agree with it, but because I think it could be a hilarious setup for Prohibition II: Handloader Underground.

    • Huh, it went “wet” in 2009, I doubt it will have any impact on the amount of binge drinking or drunk driving that goes on there. Even when it was “dry” it was still pretty wet. I never had a difficult time finding a keg or a bottle when I was there.

  5. Now if only the gun control advocates could figure that logic out…

    Of course, that would kill about a third of this site’s content. Still a fair trade-off, I think.

  6. There aren’t a whole lot of places to buy ammo in Baltimore city anyway. Most people already go out to the county or out of state. Maybe they can use the tax to pay for Maryland’s pointless shell casing registry. Decreasing the number of vacant houses would be a very good thing. Not sure if it’s still the same but years ago there were blocks of empty houses being uses for all sorts of nastiness. He left out stopping the repeat offender revolving door, stopping witness intimidation etc, etc…..

  7. “…includes a “bullet tax” that he said will increase the cost of committing a crime.”

    Increase the cost of a crime by a dollar or two while making casual shooting all but impossible to the average person. Of course, that’s probably what he had in mind.
    I mean seriously, 200-300 rounds is a casual day at the range while killing a rival drug dealer takes 1-3…

  8. In Maryland, if it’s gigantically stupid, it will pass with unanimous consent.

  9. Time to pass the new law that any word a politician states will cost 1$ as being a politician is not an affirmed right, free speach by a politician should not be protected either.

    Being a politician is a privledge so yeah, charging those morons a 1$ per word would be a great idea, especially if you used that money to automatically fund the politicians Social Security/retirement fund the bunch of windbags!

  10. I had thought (actually hoped) that even though “The Wire” was a brilliant show it was being a bit unfair to Baltimore. Little did I know it gave the city too much credit.

  11. lets throw a tax on lead wheel weights while were at it so the law abiding citizen can’t make his own bullets….lets design a retrival system at the ranges so the spend casings go right into a collector not the floor of the range lets tax gun power at the local bass pro shop lets tax primers….lets tax……..lets tax……lets tax……

  12. Maryland in general is screwed up.

    Fortunatly pretty much the general concensus in the area I live is if the crap ever really hits the fan and the government is dissolved the bridge from maryland needs to be dissolved too in order to stop them all from pouring into virginia over it. Fortunatly it is the only bridge for a very long way in either direction.

  13. Most of the shootings in Baltimore are committed by Otis Rolley’s “Homies”, so stop blaming the law abiding gun owners.

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