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 Cheaper Than Dirt? Not in Calfornia (courtesy

As a mobster might put it, Ronald Reagan was not a friend of ours. As California’s Governor, Ronnie curtailed gun rights. As President, he elevated the ATF to full agency status and supported the Brady Bill. Still, the Gipper knew how government thinks: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” In other words, they get you coming and going. We can see this all-embracing ethos in the current push for civilian disarmament. Specifically, surcharges. In its recent package of gun ban bills, Connecticut added a $35 per person fee for mandatory “eligibility certificates to purchase guns and ammo.” Not to be outdone on the tax side, California is working on adding to the cost of ammo . . .

The California Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee recently approved a new measure that places a 10 percent tax on all ammunition sold in California. Law enforcement agencies will be exempt from the tax.

The Board of Equalization estimates that the new tax will generate $92.4 million in annual revenues.

Democratic Assemblymen Rob Bonta and Roger Dickinson, who both support the bill, hope to use the new revenue to help cities that are plagued with gun violence. Bonta explained, “Cities throughout the state, including Oakland, are suffering horrific and increasing gun violence. AB 187 will provide the City of Oakland, and cities in similar circumstances, with sufficient street-level public safety presence to prevent gun violence and attend to it when it does occur.”

The 10 percent ammo sales tax would include gun show sales. But wait! This could well be a tax on a tax. Dickinson’s other bill on the matter(AB 760) would impose a five cent tax on every round of ammunition sold in California. As points out, “ironically, the tax would be more expensive than the actual bullets.”

Ironic is one word for it. I bet you guys can think of some others. Anyway, a “tax bullets” measure failed in Illinois. What’s the bet it’ll make it through the legislature in America’s western-most slave state?

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  1. I see that CTD has continued with their admirable policy of charging reasonable prices when they get ammo in stock.

    To the topic: California. I continue to not regret moving from my home state.

  2. I’d vote in favor of a Stupid Law Law. Every time some political pig suggests a Stupid Law, a roofing nail should be driven through their gonads. I think that’s fair. Elected geniuses should not be the only ones allowed to break ball$.

  3. They have taxed the crap out of cigarettes and alcohol, this will be the new sin tax.

    Someone will have to have a court challenge to see if you can tax a right because with super majority in both houses and the legilature in CA feeling omnipotent, what is to stop them?

    • CA has a tax of $0.87 per pack of cigarettes. The taxes on alcohol are very low as well with $0.20/gallon for beer and wine and $0.30/gallon on spirits. While they do have obscene laws, the sin taxes are low compared to many states.

      • CT has a tax of $3.40 per pack of cigarettes. $7.20/gallon for beer $0.72 for wine and $5.40 for spirts.

        I assume that much of the reason those items are cheap in CA is to protect those industries including Napa/Sonoma

        • No idea what the thinking is behind the taxes in question, just adding some facts to the discussion. CA is actually quite reasonable about taxes, which surprised me when doing research on various states a few years ago.

        • The bigger issue is that the proposed legislation is just another element of the concerted grabber effort to restrict and curtail ownership and use of firearms in what was once the Great State of CA.

          The RTKABA is a specific constitutionally protected freedom. These elitist utopian dreaming Democrats are whittling away at a constitutionally protected freedom for very limited if any public benefit but at much cost to gun owners in terms of enjoying their freedoms and the added expense of doing so.

          At some point all the extra expenses accompanying these various laws becomes prohibitive to gun owners and creates a de facto prohibition from enjoying the benefits of the 2nd Amendment.

  4. I really don’t feel bad for most of the people in California – they’re the ones that keep re-electing these dipshits.

    • The vast majority, no. But as someone who couldn’t currently (financially) even move across town, much less to another state, I feel for people stuck behind the line.

      • You need only feel concern for those of us who DON’T vote for these grabber idiots and are stuck having their ineffective, overreaching restrictions crammed down our throats.

        Personally I only hope if they aren’t stopped, I have time to retire and leave this LaLa Land before being damaged by their confiscatory laws.

        Hopefully, it’ll take some time for the effects to filter down.

  5. There’s a simple solution to these infringements. California shooters need to stock up in adjoining states like Nevada. The same will hold true for Connecticut residents.

    • Yup. Reno is only about 90 minutes from where I live. And I would shop there if only to have the taxes go to a state government that I support.

        • You forget, california already has fruit Nazi’s stationed at the border. The Fruit Nazis up in Truckee take their job seriously, the one on 395 not so much, they just stand there and wave you through.

        • Due to the ridiculously huge agriculture business in CA, they restrict certain plants from coming into the state to prevent diseases and pests from other areas of the country from being introduced and wiping out crops. There are similar regulations regarding bringing crops and some other foodstuffs into the entire country, too. Seems ridiculous, but considering how quickly a newly introduced pathogen or predator can wipe out a crop that has no defense to it, it *kind of* makes sense.

        • Get a DeLorme Atlas of Nevada and California, and look for paved and gravel county roads that avoid the fruit nazi stations. If you go north out of Reno/Stead on the N/S Washoe County roads east of 395, you can get into Calif on routes that let you enter the PRCa through Quincy or Susanville and avoid the ag station. Don’t try this in the winter or spring when the back roads get muddy. (I lived in Lassen Co. before I escaped the PRCa.)

      • Reno is awesome. I’ve been doing that for years, or when I visit family in AZ. I’ve found myself doing everything I can to give less money to the state. Unfortunately that often means less money to small business owners too. But until we can bleed this government dry it will never change. I’m not ready to give up quit yet on CA.

        • Dude, Reno is a shithole; what drugs are you taking? I want some of those. The fruit guys are doing their job, they ask for fruit, if you hav some had it over, it’s to protect the farms. They don’t search your vehicle.

    • They tried to put a 50% tax on ammo in Connecticut, but it failed to garner any support. For your suggestion to drive and stock up in a neighboring state, have you seen Connecticut’s neighbors – New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island? The closest thing to a “free” state is Vermont or Maine.

    • I would if I knew I could get a year’s supply of .45 ACP and .22LR. Otherwise the gas (also the highest price in the lower 48) for the four hour one way trip would negate the savings.

    • Which ajoining states would CT residents go to? NY, MA or RI?

      Most will go to PA, NH or ME but those are long trips compared to NV

      • It’s 53.9 miles from the southwest corner of Connecticut to the northeast edge of Pennsylvania. It would take about 1 hour to drive there. Add for your exact start and end point.

        Driving distance from say Riverside, CA (east of LA) to Reno, NV 465 Miles; about 7 hours 50 mins.

        It’s all mindset – from living in a congested environment where short distances seem like a long way. I know, I grew up in CT and anything over a 20 minute drive seemed like a long trip.

        Relocating to CA and it’s wide open expanses in the early 70’s was eye opening. Here an hour drive is next to nothing.

        So driving to PA or NH may not be so inconvenient after all; particularly considering the alternative.

    • Do you have any idea how large CA is? If you live near the coast as like 70% of the population does – in most of the country you’re 3-4hrs drive from the nearest other state. This among so many other things – sucks.

      • Sounds good. You in the Livermore area? We can stop and pick Silverman up, he’s in Tracy. Make a TTAG ammo run out of it.

        • 10 minutes from there. For now im starting to see ammo available around here. Its not selling out in the first 5 minutes like it has been for the last 5 months.

    • but in ca, there are those of us who care that we are slaves. i don’t think Hawaii cares. and don’t say “just move” its not that easy.

  6. Better question:

    How much of the revenue generated (btw, I thought new taxes were to be voted on by the general population…. silly me) will be used to pay out settlements when the boys in black shoot up the wrong make and color truck, or beat a schizophrenic to death, or get overzealous when dealing with a a Driving While Black case?…

  7. Laws of economics being what they are, reduced demand in CA _should_ lead to reduced prices elsewhere.

    So, thanks CA!

    • This will increase demand, hot and heavy to beat the price jump. All the online sales and bordering state sale will spike hard. As a CA resident, I will be stocking up before the price gets even worse.

    • AB962 by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles (name sound familiar?) was passed in Oct. 2009 to require face to face sales of ammo in CA. Schwarzenegger signed it.

      I think the main purpose of the bill, beyond the tenuous purposes stated, was to capture unreported tax revenue lost to the huge volume of online ammo purchases to CA residents.

      Some who knew of the possibility of this Bill’s enactment went on an ammo buying spree starting before it’s signing in 2009 and have not looked back. That seems to have been a prudent call given the unfolding events since then.

      In Jan 2011, a Fresno County Superior Court Judge struck down the law saying the definition of handgun ammunition used in the legislation was so vague as to be unconstitutional.

      Those who could see the writing on the wall never let up with their ammo buying.

      They can now realize the payoff.

      • Sales tax on online purchases has already been voted on and passed in the Senate, and is awaiting the House vote. This will be a triple tax for Californians who purchase ammo online, if the Federal bill passes in the House.

        • That is correct. Plus, the CA state Dems now also have been educated on the benefit of making ammo purchases prohibitively expensive.

          I wonder who might have been helping them along with that education and strategy.

    • Because it’s not a “sin” to have guns and ammo. It’s a “sin” for YOU to have guns and ammo.

    • Jon, Really?? Law enforcement has been “exempt” since Cain and Abel. Just like EVERY government in the history of mankind has been corrupt to the core.

  8. Law of Unintended Consequences: wonderful opportunity for smuggling ammo, just like Mayor Doomberg’s cigarette taxes in NYC have created a massive tobacco-smuggling industry in that city. [Note: the following scenario assumes (1) ammo will some day be available in gun stores; and (2) you are having this conversation with a friend you can trust, not some schmuck on the street corner.]

    “Hey, I’m going to Vegas/Reno/Oregon next week, you need some ammo?”
    “Sure, pick me up a few cases – here’s $300 cash, I need some 9mm and .22s.”

    Shouldn’t be too long before the PRca border guards (aka agricultural inspection stations) start searching all vehicles entering the state with NRA decals. “You got any ammo on board, pal? Or fruits and vegetables?”

    • Law of unintended consequences, Part 2 – heard an interesting bit on NPR yesterday about an ol’ hippie pot dealer from San Francisco who, now that every vacant lot is a legal “medical marijuiana” farm and everyone with a stress issue can get a script for legal pot, expereinced a serious cash flow. So he moved to NYC, where both medical and recreational use are still illegal but very common, and has his friends back home in Mendicino ship him a Fed Ex box of surplus medical weed a couple of times a week, since they have a surplus. Sounded like he is making some serious money, or at least enough to live in Manhatten.

    • They’ve got that covered too. There is a pending bill to require all ammo transactions to be face to face and the seller to be licensed to sell it. While group buys would seem, on their face, to avoid this law, whose to say that the DOJ doesn’t come down hard on the “messenger” who goes out of state?

      These laws are not about revenue. These laws are about gun control, and everybody knows it. These laws have INTENDED consequences. These laws are about making buying ammo as expensive and burdensome as possible. Features of other proposed laws include an “ammo ID” that will require a fee, a safety training class (which seems redundant of the test you have to take to get the permit necessary to take possession of a handgun–the $25 Handgun Safety Certificate), and a background check. The law that is currently on the books (but declared unconstitutional) requires ID, a thumbprint, and the dealer to keep records. They want to make all sales reportable to the DOJ, and an additional reporting requirement to local police for sales in excess of 500 rounds.

  9. Don’t get your hopes up about cheap ammo in NV. A certain Dem state rep is gaining support for a “per round” ammo tax here as well. Yesterday the ‘prostitute your dead children’ Bloomburg campaign managed to bully our legislature into passing a comprehensive background check bill (Nevada SB221) by parading the Sandy Hook mobile brigade in front of our legislators. Washington, Oregon, and Colorado are not the only states suffering from Ex-Californians voting their new state into oblivion.

    Seriously, I have neighbors that recently moved from CA. “Oh, we need more gun laws here in NV. We left CA because of all the crime and violence.” – They were concerned when I went into a seizure on the spot…

  10. This is how it starts.
    My grandmother lived in Beloit Wisconsin( on the IL/WI border). Yellow margarine was illegal to sell in WI in the olden days. She would smuggle a case of “colored oleo” into the Dairy State when she came to visit. I guess Grandma Cantonia was a bad guy.
    When the price SPREAD, for an illegal or taxed item is large enough, players arbitrage for the risk reward pay off. So, here we go. Lets make the tax so high so that the differential of the free market and taxed price is so great that we get the Big Boys involved. The mob will replace the hodge podge street corner gun dealers with a real efficient conduit to the REAL bad guys.
    Lets review, one hand, create gun ammo purchase ID cards so only good guys can buy ammo. Other hand, tax ammo excessively to create an underground efficient mob run supply so that bad guys can skip the whole ammo ID thing. All the while to generate a cash flow to bribe and corrupt the cops.
    I thought up this scenario all by myself because I know, we have never seen this kind of thing before in our past history.

    • Chicago has taxed cigarettes so much that the street gangs now make more money smuggling cigarettes than they do on drugs.

  11. Hey CA legislators, I’ll just buy ammo somewhere else. WI has lower sales taxes, and I visit that state regularly.

    • Locally in both western and eastern WI I’ve been buying up ammo at great prices from both private sellers and stores while traveling the weekdays during work. Armslist and a few local websites that auction off ammo one can find great deals when related to current inflated market prices. Also in MN sportmansguide retail store has tons of ammo on Tuesday’s, online not so much if any.
      In the last few weeks I have found everything I need, although good .44 mag ammo is tough to get. But 9mm, .40, even .45 and .357 mag, .233 in odd grains and tons of 76.2×39 everywhere. .308 to. I feel sorry for those of you who live in such anti-gun and/or low supply states.

  12. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the thinking behind raising taxes on ammo, or placing restrictions on how much ammo a person can buy, is completely illogical. It’s based on the notion that the more ammo a person has, the more dangerous that person is. But a deranged person doesn’t need thousands of rounds of ammo to hurt a lot of people; a single, standard box of 50 is plenty. At the same time, law-abiding gun owners who have trouble stocking up on ammo because of availability or prices simply can’t practice as much as they want to–which hampers safety instead of improving it.

    • Say Jack, doncha know, any person who would want even a single round is deranged. and the more ammo these guys have, the more likely they are to go postal. Tug on Superman’s cape. Spit into the wind. Or some equally devious, destructive, disordered and deranged action.

      • Ah, that’s right–bullets are bad. Guns are bad. Get a dog. (A junkyard dog? No, wait, those are bad too.)

    • If it doesn’t quack like a duck and doesn’t walk like a duck, then it’s not a duck. Many here have posited that gun control is not about public safety, at least in motivating politicians. I agree, and your post indicates that you don’t buy the public safety argument either. The question is what IS it about, then? What IS motivating the politicians?

      I have a guess: fear.

      For those in pursuit of utopia via regulation, what stands in the way? More specifically, to those in positions of leadership of this utopian movement, who will thwart them, in spite of sufficient political support? Answer: sufficiently armed folks who don’t buy the utopian promise. In the long run arms are the thing, the only thing in my view, that stand between liberty and tyranny, utopian or otherwise.

      They are not trying to prevent the next Sandy Hook. They are trying to prevent an insurgency. Don’t you think this better explains the nature of these anti-gun laws we’ve been seeing?

  13. The people of CA only have themselves to blame.
    I feel no remorse for any of them and their excuses upon excuses as to
    how things are grew old years ago.

  14. Thanks for the reality check on Ronnie Raygun. My “conservative” friends whose only source of news is Fox think I’m an “extreme leftist ” ’cause I reject the diefication of Reagan. I got out of the submarine service in early ’81, right after he got elected, and made it home to the Midwest just as his corporate handlers told him to tell the USDA to forclose on ALL small farm loans, no matter what the repayment record was. A way of life I grew up with (the small family farm) disappeared in matter of months. Then he got the bright idea to “deinstitutionalize” the mentally ill, which lead to hordes of crazy people roaming the streets and occasionally (since there is no mental health care at the bottom tier) your random mass shooting. Oh yeah, and then he de-regulated the savings and loans, which only cost the taxpayers umpteen billion dollars, which was such a great idea that we deregulated insurance companies and banks. I think they called the result “financial meltdown” which introduced us to the concept of “too big to fail bailouts.” Don’t care how many times Newt mentions him in a 10-minute speech (37) – RWR was a terrible president.

    • But he had great hair and one-liners, so those negate all the other stuff. Apparently.

    • I’ve mentioned the same things to my dad, who although he isn’t a diehard conservative, was a Reagan fan.

      His only answer? “Times were good back then.”


  15. Sounds to me that MidwayUSA and Cabellas will be getting a lot of business from CA residents. AFAIK, Amazon charges [some] sales tax on [some] items purchased from them, but they’re the only one business to do so – and they don’t sell ammo.

    CA: driving more tax $$ – and tax-paying, law-abiding citizens – out of state than at any other time in history! You just can’t make this stuff up.

  16. Fantastic. More uneducated decisions from the liberal super majority in California.

    I’m just shocked at the complete lack of logic or education about firearms and the industry behind it. If you want revenue, go tax our massive amount of medical marijuana dispensaries (LA County). I can’t imagine that the majority of those customers are highly productive members of society…

    • “go tax our massive amount of medical marijuana dispensaries”

      Did that measure pass? I think it was Measure F – The Dispensaries passed out flyers saying to vote NO on F and YES on D. Which is funny. Basically they want the system to stay the way it is. No tax, no regulation, just weed for days. I say Tax it like booze/cigs/gas and call it a day.

      Google-fu says it passed…

  17. I’ll have my friends in free-states buy ammo for me, and ship it this way. Hell, I could just have a new excuse to go to Vegas more often 😉

    • About $2400 up here in WI for 6,000 round of 9mm target, even defensive is under a $1 per.

  18. People need to start suing these politicians for making us live under a different set of rules. They can’t keep exempting themselves from the laws they pass and expect us to sit by and take it.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    MOLON LABE you Califorina facsists!

  19. How many times is California going to go full retard this week, ammo tax, micro-stamping, no new handguns.

  20. I like to think of us here at TTAG as a community. We (the readers) should setup some type of networking. I would gladly help out my fellow readers in slave states.

  21. Just because some douche has authored a proposed law does not mean it is a fiat accompli. I notice this way too much. Some Senator and Assemblyman proposes something stupid, and then the whole state is painted stupid because of that.

    Last I checked, this bill was put in the suspense file and did not pass out of appropriations. Today it was resurrected. That is sad. But it has just passed appropriations. Many similar bills (SB 47 was SB 243 last year) died in Appropriations last year. My guess is that the party leaders dictated new policy, and they are flipping the bird to Brown. Brown has more realistic estimates about the certainty of California’s economy. The legislature thinks it has an over 4 bill surplus. Brown says that is crazy. For once Brown is right. But I think the fight with Brown means Appropriations isn’t listening to him any more, and just automatically passes everything regardless of cost…and this will cost in litigation and lost business. Brown isn’t exactly pro-gun, but he rather be doing things other than gun control, and anything that is litigious he wants to avoid.

    Anyhow, it and every other gun bill has 8 days to be passed out of the house of origin. So if the Senate does not pass it by May 31, we are safe for this year at least. That is the date to watch.

    Then the Assembly. I may be recollecting wrong, but the Assembly is less likely to pass anything. Back after Katrina the Assembly pass, unanimously, a bill to outlaw the confiscation of firearms in a state of emergency. The Senate approved that too, but 24-17. I think Assemblymen are more sensitive to these things. So if they sail through there then it is to Brown to veto bills that he vetoed last year or that are the same but on steroids. But he will sign some and veto some. Depends on which My guess is he signs SB 47 and vetoes 374, so he can look reasonable and moderate (374 includes the text of 47). Signs the 10% tax, but not the 5¢ a bullet tax, etc.

  22. Bloomberg has skeletons in his closet somewhere. I seriously doubt he is clean as the wind driven snow in his personal and business life. There has to be something that would seriously damage his credibility and knock him out of the gun grabbing business. Any journalists game?

  23. If passed the tax does not take effect until July 2014. Gives CRPA etc. more time to fight it in court. Still, better that it doesn’t pass.

  24. And i thought i got ripped off when i bought exact the same box of 50 rounds in local gun store here in Colorado for 23$

  25. [quote]And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”[/quote]

    So wait, if I’m poor and destitute the government will GIVE me ammo? Oh I have to be illegal and Mexican first?

  26. Its no big surprise why Cabala’s built there store in the Reno area less then 2 miles from the calif state line in Verdi, NV

    This store was built just for the calif business without the hassle of being in Calif

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