California has the most limits, restrictions and regulations on firearms, their sale, and the right to keep and bear arms of any state in the nation. The state and its political class take great pride in the burdens they’ve placed on Second Amendment freedoms.
That being the case, why are such drastic measures as those described below still necessary to tackle the state’s alleged “gun violence epidemic”?
Currently federal law sets an excise tax on imported firearms and ammunition. Established in 1919, the tax adds 10 percent to the sales price of pistols and revolvers, and 11 percent for rifles and shotguns, and ammunition. Imagine if every gun purchased — regardless of its manufacturer — came with a massive tax (think 50-75 percent) that made the cost to purchase it far less accessible. Add to that a similar surcharge for ammunition, and the purchase and use of deadly weapons would be effectively obstructed.
And let’s not stop with gun purchasers. Adding similar taxes for anyone who sells guns could discourage people from entering the business. Those who do decide to sell guns may opt to hand down the extra fees to their customers, making gun ownership even more unaffordable.
Capping it all off, these new revenues for the government could fund additional safety measures like gun education and buy-back programs. It’s a win-win that could dramatically curb gun violence across the country.
The California Legislature, with a Democratic supermajority, ought to consider a similar excise tax on the sale of guns and ammo. Recently a bill was introduced in the Assembly aimed at implementing a proposal along these lines. This is a good start, and we should continue to pursue the concept.
The CalPERS board should finally tighten the purse strings on its $355 billion portfolio and divest from firearm and other related industries.
– Joe Sanberg in Use power of the purse to curb gun violence in California