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Continuing his full frontal assault on Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich (looking thoroughly befuddled by that thing he’s holding, above) lit into the a-little-too-perfectly coiffed former Massachusetts governor for raising taxes on guns by 400% when he was the Bay State executive. Sticklers for the truth that they are, points out that, “the ‘tax’ Gingrich refers to was in fact a fee on gun licenses that Romney raised in 2003 as part of his administration’s effort that year to scour the tax code for loopholes it could close and fees it could hike to close a budget deficit.” Thanks for that distinction without a difference. Tax or fee, the dollars still come out of gun owners’ pockets every time they buy a new boomstick or renew an existing license. And as we learned in Econ 101, that which is taxed is discouraged. . .

Imagine that – a Massachusetts governor raising taxes. Say it ain’t so, Joe. That’s almost as newsworthy as a politician lying. But the next primary’s coming up fast and Gingrich sees an opportunity.

“He raised taxes on owning a gun, a topic we will talk about a great deal in South Carolina, where they think registering a gun and having it taxed by the government is not a very clever idea,” Gingrich said yesterday in Manchester, N.H.

Meanwhile, Romney’s trying to be just as pedantic as the Guardian.

Romney has long argued that fees are not taxes because they are charged for specific services. But others, including gun owners in Massachusetts – who number about 200,000 – have rejected that distinction.

“It’s a tax on our rights. Period,” (executive director of the Gun Owners Action League, James) Wallace said today.

Good luck making that case, Mitt.

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  1. “Romney has long argued that fees are not taxes because they are charged for specific services.”
    Bullshit. That’s the same argument Pawlenty tried to use on us Minnesotans a few years ago. It didn’t pass the smell test then, either. Using the name “fee” to polish the turd of taxes doesn’t change anything.

    • Honestly, it’s unconstitutional either way — I fail to see the difference between a government mandated payment of monies to exercise one’s franchise (poll tax), and a government mandated payment of mines to exercise one’s right to keep and bear arms.

      Let’s make no bones here: The FOID systems in place in states like NJ are legally equal to a poll tax.

      • “A tax and a fee are very different.”
        Saying it doesn’t make it so.

        Property tax: Money I must pay the state in order to exercise my right to own property.

        Sales tax: Since I can’t (legally) own property without paying for it, this is again money I must pay the state in order to exercise my right to own property.

        Permit to purchase fee: Money I must pay the state in order to exercise my right to keep and bear arms.

        Permit to carry fee: Money I must pay the state in order to exercise my right to keep and bear arms.

        Your implication that I should “look it up” doesn’t insult my intelligence. Your belief that differing definitions yields differing results does say something about yours, though.

    • Many would say they are on the same ticket. Just a once-every-four-years election to see which half of the party gets top billing for a spell. Ah, as Strom Thurmond once said: “Don’t tax you and don’t tax me, tax that fella behind the tree.” Was it Justice Marshall who said “The power to tax is the power to destroy”? Injustice is not lessened just because it is expedient.

    • As a card carrying lefty I have to agree that there’s a hair’s breadth difference between the two on most every issue.

      • Except Obama has been a miserable failure the past 3 years and Romney can bring a Eisenhower era middle-class renaissance that America has needed for some time now. Romney also has business experience where Obama’s 1st job was as state senator.

        • The man made his and investors’ money gutting companies for profit. There is a huge difference between maximizing value out of a company and selling it quickly before the wheels fall off and creating or running a company. The Eisenhower era had a top tax rate of 90% . . . is that what you are suggesting?

  2. Poll taxes are illegal but are voter fees? “Well, it takes the government resources to count your vote, so it really isn’t a tax”
    Oh, you mean they’re the same thing?

  3. In order to get a gun license in MA we need to take a NRA certified class that costs $100 and then the license costs another $100. The license needs to be renewed every six years or it will expire, and costs another $100 to renew. In Boston you have to qualify each time with what I have heard is a POS old revolver with a 10 ton trigger. We are still under the AWB, as it was signed into permanent law here, that means no normal capacity magazines unless they were made before 1994. The BS goes on and on and on……

    • If you paid $100 for the Massachusetts course, you might have overpaid.

      The “going rate” for the firearms class is $60. One of the firearms schools near me does charge $100, but that includes gun rental, range time and ammo. It’s a fair deal, but only the class is required to obtain the MA certificate.

      As you noted, the license is good for six years. It used to be good for four years IIRC, but Romney signed a law extending the license term and waiving the fee for renewals by shooters aged 70 and up. Despite that, Romney is a prick.

      • I took the class a few years ago (2008 I believe). At that time the few that I could find with a google search were all $100.

      • Can’t comment on Mass. specifics, but Romney is a prick. A small, pointy, prick. So crazy you have to get a license to own a gun. Here, I’ll have to get a CHL to carry, and it will cost me a tad over $100. Wish I lived in a truly liberal state like Vermont.

        • The Mass Class A that costs $100 every 6 years DOES give you the right to carry concealed.

        • Only if you live in a city or town where the CLEO “allows” such things. One’s ability to CCW is solely at the discretion of the licensing authority of the town in which you reside or own a business. Try getting an unrestricted Class “A” LTC in Boston, Brookline, Lowell or many other cities or towns unless you’re very well connected, a business owner or a lawyer/judge/magistrate; you can pretty much forget about it if you’re a mere mortal. To be fair, though, most municipalities in the Commonwealth do issue unrestricted LTC’s

    • Because he is the only candidate that has any common sense. Perry talks at a 4th grade level, Newt is unfit to serve so says the people who served under him as Speaker, Santorum is hell bent on turning America into his own Theocracy, Huntsman worked to implement the Obama administration’s policies in China. Romney is the clear choice.

  4. In Massachusetts, prior to the firearms laws changing in 1998, there were something between 1.25M and 1.5M people with either FID’s or LTC’s. Now, there are roughly 0.25M license holders. I suspect that the vast majority of the “missing” 1 million Massachusetts gun owners who are no longer licensed didn’t just move out of state or simply die, though I’m pretty sure that many of those who helped create (and continue to promote and support) our ridiculous laws would be quite happy if said gun owners were to simply disappear from the face of the earth. Now, what do you suppose happened to all of those gun owners and all of those guns?

    The Massachusetts gun laws are so full of fail that I scarcely know where to begin. The $100 “fee” brings us to poll taxes and Murdock v. Pennsylvania. Lack of reciprocity and discretionary licensing would be covered by the full faith and credit clause as well as equal protection, privileges & immunities and due process. The Ma. AWB would be addressed by 14th Amendment protections as well. And on and on, ad nauseum.

    Is it any wonder then that so many citizens of the Commonwealth just said screw it and screw them? There are far worse things in this world than being an outlaw.

    • I agree about the gun laws and the 14th amendment. I don’t see how the Attorney General can decide which pistols we can buy and which ones we can not. I also don’t see how they can tell us a gun designed to hold 12 rounds and come with a 6 lb trigger has to be sold in Massachusetts with a 10 round mag and a 10 lb trigger. However, none of this IMO is Romney’s fault. It is the fault of the liberals on Beacon Hill and the influence of the Kennedy’s. Now Joe III wants to carpetbag his way to my district and run for Congress since that POS Barney Frank retired. I hope people are smart enough to vote Bielat-R but we can’t be too sure. Senator Brown has not been much help to gun owners either. Too scared of Liz Warren.

    • How many of those previous FID holders do you think had “lifetime FIDs” before the law was changed, and don’t realize that their license is no longer valid?

      • Many. Mostly old timers though. If you needed a handgun, one’s old “lifetime” FID wouldn’t cut it as the FID was only for long guns. If any of the former FID holders had tried to purchase a firearm or ammo they would have been set straight.

  5. Romney=North-East Liberal I’ve voted since I was 18 and am as discouraged this time around as I’ve ever been. We’re not given a choice really, gotta try and get rid of the Marxist at all costs even if I have to hold my nose. As tempting as a third party candidate may be it would be a wasted vote I’m afraid. Heaven help us all.

  6. Romney was not in office when they voted to extend the Clinton Gun Ban but had he been, it wouldn’t have mattered. With 85% democrats on Beacon Hill he never could sustain a VETO. Romney wanted the fee to go up to $75 and it go from 4 to 6 years. The Democrat legistature made it $100. The class A license that is $100 every 6 years in Massachusetts DOES give you the right to carry concealed. It is unfortunate that the only mags we can get over 10 round are pre Clinton ban mags made before 1994 but again Romney couldn’t do anything about that. The democrats will not break on that. Otherwise he was far better than any Governor we have had in my lifetime. Unemployment was low, taxes never went up, he fixed the budget issues and created a surplus, some fees did go up but again the democrats had us in a 3 billion dollar defecit when he took office and left us with a 2 billion surplus that the democrats have already spent of corse. Overall he was a huge improvement in Massachusetts.

  7. A bit pedantic, but your “” link goes to the boston globe’s website. It would be nice if your link actually went where it said it was going 🙂

  8. Remember “Everything is illegal in Massachusetts” or damned near. Romney is from where? Thats right you got it it starts with Mas———! If you ask me (and I know you didn’t) Romney is the wrong one as fas gun rights go.


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