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This is how politics is done in Chicago. Cook County Board Boss Toni Preckwinkle had a brainstorm one day recently — she’d solve two problems with one law. By enacting “violence taxes” on bullets (5 cents a round) and guns ($25 a gun) she intends to 1) raise a (very) little money to eat into the county’s $315 million budget deficit as well as defraying some of the cost of dealing with gun violence and 2) discourage criminals (and pretty much anyone else) from buying guns. OK, there are big problems with both of those, but this was conceived by a hack machine politician so that’s about as coherent as it gets. Anyway, reports that president Preckwinkle ran into some unexpected opposition to her plan. Seems two Chicago Democrats (yeah, that’s redundant) weren’t so crazy about the proposed taxes . . .

Or maybe they were just holding out to see how much their votes were worth on the open market.

In exchange for their support, Preckwinkle agreed to create a $2 million fund to combat gun violence. Fritchey had proposed dedicating $1.4 million to anti-gun violence efforts. She also agreed to exempt law-enforcement officers from having to pay the tax, which helped convince Reyes to support the plan.

An undetermined portion of the $2 million would be granted to “non-profits with a track record of effective violence prevention and community outreach.” About $100,000 would be used to crack down on illegal gun purchases.

So all Toni had to cough up is a $2 million to create a slush fund to “combat gun violence.” ‘Cause that’s been going so well in Chicago anyway, right? And an “undetermined amount” of that two mil will go to pad the Chicago ward bosses’ “reelection funds” and hire a few of their relatives non-profits with a track record of effective violence prevention and community outreach. Sorry, let me wipe off of my keyboard and catch my breath. There, that’s better.

FYI, the proposed tax would have tacked on $27 worth of taxes on a 550-round box of .22LR ammo that already costs $23, for a new post-tax price of $50. But while its nice to think that the two lawmakers were really looking out for Cook County residents by not going forward with that ridiculous tax, I get the feeling that the “they’ll just buy the ammo in the next county over instead and the money won’t come to us” argument prevailed. Maybe.

But what the hell, sometimes compromises have to be made. No one said making laws is pretty. In the end, all Preckwinkle had to do is drop the ammo tax, buy a couple of votes and she still gets to keep the huge revenue stream the gun tax will bring in, right?

The bullet tax was projected to raise $400,000 in revenue. The gun tax would raise $600,000, Budget Director Andrea Gibson said.

Did you catch that? Both taxes were projected to bring in $1 million smackers total. Except those projections — like all government prognostication — was calculated using static analysis. They take the number of bullets and guns sold last year times the new tax rate and boom — there’s your new revenue.

Only people don’t operate that way. Governments always seem to think that the drones who keep them funded are mindless automatons who won’t notice that their wallets are being drained even more than they were before the new tax was enacted. They don’t count on someone in Cook county being intelligent enough to drive to the next county over to buy that new gun and avoid prezzy Preckwinkle’s new tax.

So let’s summarize this little exercise in representative democracy, shall we? To get a part of what she originally wanted (the ability to say she did something about Chicago’s gun problem during her next reelection campaign) Preckwinkle chucked the bullet tax, foregoing $400,000 per year (by her inflated estimates). That means all she’ll take in is $600,000 (again, inflated) in gun tax bucks.

And all she had to do for the, ahem, $600,000 was commit to laying out $2 million in graft and questionable expenditures. So, fiscally speaking, what she’s done is make Cook County’s deficit bigger to the tune of (at least) $1.4 million.

But hey, she’ll still be discouraging criminals from getting guns, won’t she? Both with the new gun tax and the, er, anti-gun violence grant money…won’t she? Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

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  1. The bullet tax was projected to raise $400,000 in revenue. The gun tax would raise $600,000, Budget Director Andrea Gibson said.

    Preckwinkle chucked the bullet tax, foregoing $600,000 per year (by her inflated estimates). That means all she’ll take in is $400,000 (again, inflated) in gun tax bucks.

    Which is it?
    I find it funny that they won’t think people will go to the next county to buy ammo but they will believe that a mexican drug cartel will drive across the US border to buy semi-auto rifles that they can get fully auto from other south american countries for less.

    • This is just one of the reasons Chicago an Cook County are so far in debt.
      Considering they also have to deal with Tsar Emmanuel it is a wonder all the good people of Chicago haven’t moved out and left it to the idiot politicians and gangs.
      When it is all said and done Chicago is still going to be the Poster City for what happens when idiots take office!!
      Now I don’t live in Chicago but have family that goes to college in the area an as young and tough as he is he still won’t go there.

      • Some of us good Chicagoans see this as a fight worth fighting. No matter how worthless it seems to get.
        When it comes to Emanuel, trust me, you’ll all be dealing with him again. I predict a Presidential run by 2020.

        • It is great that there are people in Chicago that are willing to fight the good fight, but until Czar Rahm and Obernut BHO are voted out along with a few other anti’s it is going to be a harder fight than necessary.
          My nephew attends a Christian College there as he finally got a change of heart after a life threatening car wreck and has changed a lot of his outlook on life. Before the accident he was studying and workin out to go into the MMA and now after some major surgery and prosthesis work he attends college.
          As tough as he is he seems to have a lot of reservation about going into Chicago’s downtown area’s.
          I wish you all good luck and God Speed in the fight!!

        • Speed Racer- I am sorry to here about your nephew’s reservations. But Downtown is beautiful. I’m not sure where exactly he goes to school. If you would like, we can go into more detail, so he can enjoy the beauty of the city. I don’t want to tie this site up though. Feel free to visit and ask questions here………………………………….

          I’ll be happy to help.

        • Thank you very much. I will get a hold of him and find out what school it is . He lost an arm and got a steel rod down through his thigh bone from the wreck but he survived by the Grace Of God!!!
          Will let you know soon!!
          Thank you again!!

        • Rahm was born in Israel and is not qualified to run for President, any more than Arnold Schwarzanegger.

        • Speed racer- No problem. Our city is tricky to navigate, but if you know how, it is a wonderful city. Sorry to hear about your Nephew. God bless.

        • I went to Chicago a few times on business and stayed along the “Miracle Mile”. It is a good city with lots of great restaurants and amenities. i met many good people who live there and always looked forward to my Chicago trips. I hope the people of Chicago eventually win their fight for their Second Amendment Rights.
          speedracer5050, I hope your nephew does well there, and am glad he survived his ordeal.

    • “I find it funny that they won’t think people will go to the next county to buy ammo but they will believe that a mexican drug cartel will drive across the US border to buy semi-auto rifles that they can get fully auto from other south american countries for less.”

      No no no. The ATF delivers the guns to the Mexican drug gangs. Like a pizza delivery. Except with guns. Which would be awesome by the way. “Uh, yeah, Id like the #5 AR-15. Hold the laser, and give me an extra Pmag and some .223 on the side.”

      Im also confused, but regardless this will fail to achieve what they desire (preventing gun ownership) and people will just buy their guns in the next county over.

      Honest question: Are there any LGS in Chicago with decent prices, or does everyone already go outside the county to purchase gun stuff anyway?

  2. I’d love to know how many guns a year they think both legal gun owners in Chicago are buying to come up with this $400,000 (or $600,000) amount.

  3. Driving dealers out of the county is a feature of the law, not a bug. The revenue from both taxes is small potatoes to Cook county. It’s a defacto ban.

  4. I seriously do not understand the minds of these people. I’m told Chicago is a freaking warzone with criminals killing at will and they are worried about law abiding citizens with guns that have committed no crimes. What a bunch of idiots….

    • They are not worried about us law abiding citizens in Chicago, or Cook County. They (Preckwinkle) know that the only ones that will flip the bill for their budget shortfalls are the decent, law abiding, tax paying citizens. Gang bangers don’t pay taxes.

      • “Gang bangers don’t pay taxes.”

        Maybe that will give Cook County something else to charge them with… failure to pay taxes on firearms (would have been easier on the ammunition).

  5. This has zero chance of effecting crime stats in Chicago, but think of the revenue these taxes could create if concealed carry was permitted. Tens of thousands of new gun purchases with the corresponding ammo purchases. If/when the ban is struck down it will be a financial windfall for Illinois. Ineffectual self-interested and uninformed politicians doing what they do best: putting your money in their pockets.

    • IMO, these taxes would create no extra revenue if we had conceal/carry. You can leave the county or even the state in 20-30 minutes from anywhere in Chicago. The only thing this “Tax” will do is put legitimate businesses out of business.

  6. Since we hear that Chicago has as many as 40 gun shootings a weekend (maybe more or less on some weekends), I am wondering how the total for a year figures into the National Figure for gun shootings (excluding suicides).
    With regard to Toni Preckwinkle’s gun/bullet tax, she’ll probably come back to the matter after her gun tax is passed and try again for the bullet tax. That way she gets to claim she “did something to reduce gun violence” twice.
    So, even if a City of Chicago Citizen buys a gun in the next County, it looks like they still have to pay the City of Chicago a $15 per gun per year Registration Fee. So, what’s to keep the City/County from trying to collect the new $25 per gun tax on a City of Chicago Resident when he/she goes to pay the City’s $15 per gun per year fee on the new gun (on the first Registration) they bought in the next County? Apparently, if a C of C Resident does not pay the City Registration fee and gets caught that’s a serious situation for him/her. So, it looks like there’s no sense in trying to avoid the City Registration Fee, unless you want to run the risk of having all your guns confiscated. Jeesh,,,Totalitarianism sucks!

    • Chicago likes to compare itself to other world cities, so Ward Room thought it would find out how we rank in violence.

      It turns out no one can top us.

      Among what are considered Alpha world cities, Chicago has the highest murder rate — higher even than the Third World metropolises of Mexico City and Sao Paolo.

      Here’s how we rank in murders per 100,000 among cities we consider our peers, based on a projected murder total of 505 for this year.

      Singapore 0.4
      Tokyo 0.5
      Hong Kong 0.6
      Berlin 1.0
      Sydney 1.0
      London 1.4
      Toronto 1.7
      Amsterdam 1.8
      Paris 4.4
      New York 6.0
      Los Angeles 7.5
      Mexico City 8.0
      Moscow 9.6
      Sao Paulo 15.6
      Chicago 19.4

      Derry, this stat from an NBC article is not for Firearm “only” homicides. But I felt it was the best example of how pathetic the Democratic crime prevention system works in this city, county, and state.

      As far as your question about Chicago residents being forced to pay the tax during the registration process, I believe there;s a law in our Constitution preventing municipalities from taxing fees and fines.

      • The best medicine for a violent criminal is a healthy dose of lead, dispensed in convenient 230 grain ball portions. Repeat as necessary.

      • Thanks for the Info J.O.B….the homicide ranking for Chicago is about what I expected…that the numbers are not “Firearm only homicides” is understood. Does indeed demonstrate how utterly failed their system is.
        Insofar as the tax, I was thinking about “worst case scenarios”, but they probably could not make a legally viable case for trying to collect their tax on another Counties’ sale when the gun owner has to pay the City of Chicago’s $15 per gun per year Registration Fee the first time on the new gun. On the other hand I wouldn’t put it past those Chicago Politicians to try.

  7. “Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”

    Seems more like throwing out a few omelets to save a bunch of eggs.

  8. “They don’t count on someone in Cook county being intelligent enough to drive to the next county over to buy that new gun and avoid prezzy Preckwinkle’s new tax”

    * Some gun buyers will drive to the next county to buy their gun and while there also buy ammo, etc.
    * Some Cook County gun sellers will eat the $25 county tax to keep the business at their store. Retailers in Cook County might offer $25+ in free ammo with a gun purchase as an incentive to buy from them.
    * Some gun buyers will decide it’s too much of a hassle to drive to the next county’s nearest gun store and will grudgingly pay the proposed $25.

    • Here is a business thought. I don’t know if this will fly.
      Why not move your business. Not literally but figuratively. If your gun shop is incorporated, and has some address outside of Cook county, but you have a “distribution center” inside of Crook, errr Cook county, how would that work?
      I guess it really depends on how the law was written.

  9. A very fine article by Mr. Zimmerman. Being a life long Chicago and Cook County resident, I may be able to add a little to this forum. This is political maneuvering at its finest. Many believe, as do I, that Preckwinkle will be running for Governor in the near future. I’m betting that she wants to run against Governor (I’ll veto any conceal/carry bill that passes my desk) Quinn on the platform that he does not look out for the best interests of Cook County.
    The best part of this “tax” is the audacity. Ms. Preckwinkle first brought this up at a county board meeting 3 months ago. Three weeks ago, there was an article in the Sun Times where she is quoted “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle defended her proposal to place a violence tax on guns and bullets, saying the county has to try to find ways to defray the costs the county absorbs because of gun violence — whether it’s victims in the county-run health and hospital system or suspects in the county jail awaiting trial.”
    Now try to follow me on this, Her concern then was closing the budget “holes” caused by Healthcare and incarceration. The Cook County healthcare system had an appropriated budget of 800 million last year. As far as I could figure, roughly 30-35% of those expenditures will be covered under the Affordable Healthcare Act. What will happen when the new Federal appropriations take place next year? A wind fall in Cook County? Not to mention a Gubernatorial run by Preckwinkle in late 2014.
    But what’s the worst that could happen from this new tax? Oh yea, 40 gun shops in Cook County being put out of business.
    My true disdain goes to the County Commissioners. Especially the ones with the (R) after there name, for not questioning anything. I guess if you make 130k a year, with full healthcare and pension benefits, working a whole 15-20 hours a week. Why rock the boat. Gutless cowards.

  10. So even if the “tax” or “penalty” is collected, she is borrowing 50 cents on every dollar to meet her goal for this slush fund. Now that is just great!!!
    I love how these people do math, to bad it doesn’t work this way in real life!

  11. Why doesn’t the rest of Illinois kick Cook County out of the state and rejoin the Union? It would solve may of the problems with that state, not just 2A.

    • A few State and Federal Representatives from Southern Illinois actually came up with ideas on how to do that. I believe 2 years ago.

  12. I’ve never heard of a thrifty gang member. If the idea of prison doesnt scare them enough (leaving the details out) and extra few cents for ammo will? When does a gang ever buy registered guns anyway? For me when I look at it it seems like a way for cook county to make money off violence.


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