Cook County, Illinois has had a $25 per firearm tax on gun sales since 2013. In 21016, they imposed a tax on ammunition sales, too. Because guns.
As our John Boch was quoted at the time,
“The gun tax is nothing more than a modern day poll tax against the poor,” John Boch, executive director of the pro-gun Guns Save Life group told Illinois Business Daily in an email. “Gun control is racist, classist and sexist–we don’t support those things.”
A collection of gun dealers backed by the National Rifle Association and Guns Save Life sued to invalidate the taxes. But late last week, a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled against the plaintiffs. Here’s the announcement from Maxon Shooter’s Supply.
Cook County Firearm and Ammo Tax Update
Short version: we lost at the trial court level. This is not an unexpected decision, though it is disappointing. Five years after we filed this lawsuit, and eight months after arguments ended, Judge David B. Atkins has issued a very thin three and a half page ruling. There is very little in it addressing the substance of the arguments – only conclusions. Our arguments are:
- This is effectively an illegal poll tax
- It is an undue burden on Cook County Retailers and lawful customers
- It is a regulation in violation of state preemption (IL state has preemption on any firearm laws)
In 2013, the Cook County Board passed a $25 per firearm tax for all firearms sold by dealers in the county. Then in 2016, the Board added an ammunition tax of $0.05 per round for centerfire and $0.01 per round for rimfire ammo.
Maxon Shooters is the sole remaining gun shop plaintiff in this lawsuit, and we will be part of the appeal; other plaintiffs are Maxon customer Marilyn Smolenski (who is running for the ILGA in November) and GSL. The Appellate Court is a much faster track than the trial court typically. We remain optimistic that we will win at the Appellate or Supreme Court level. Thank you for your continued support and interest in this matter.