You’re about to read a story involving California. If you were a millennial snowflake, you could consider this your trigger warning. You can expect to read something equal parts stupid and dangerous and 100 percent asinine. Nevertheless, we have to stay informed in order to stay in the fight, and when it comes to gun rights, California is very much fighting against the constitution.
This time around, they’ve found a rather sneaky way to try and discourage gun sales. It’s not the first time gun taxes have been the discussion of the hour, but overlooking this one would be a mistake.
California lawmakers have introduced a proposal. It suggests a new tax on the sale of every semi-automatic firearm, long gun or handgun. This would be in addition to a number of unique firearm taxes that already exist within the state.
There’s no set number on the tax yet, and ideas have ranged from somewhat low to exorbitant. There’s a good chance California will just carbon copy a similar law already in place in Seattle (as per usual). The tax there is a flat $25 on every firearm purchase. This might not seem like a great sum to anyone with an extensive collection and taste for high-end weapons, but it is enough to make a purchase noticeably more difficult for most first timers. That’s not a coincidence.
Why it Sounds Nice
California is disturbingly liberal enough to champion such a law as is. That hasn’t stopped them from playing optics. Attached to the proposal is a requirement for 100 percent of the collected tax to go into a violence prevention fund. The revenue would be run through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Program. It funnels money to municipal and community organizations that fulfill its requirements.
The programs vary as much as you might expect. They can include help for people suffering from abuse, advice on gun safety or de-escalation techniques and frivolous practices that have nothing to do with violence or firearms. Despite the range in potency, the Program fund distributed $8 million to a number of groups last year. Considering California saw over 1 million taxable firearm sales last year, you can see how easily this new tax could grow the Prevention Program ledger. An extra $25 million a year sound good to anyone?
The Ugly Truth
Here’s the problem. Not one of those funded programs has been able to demonstrate an impact on violence or crime levels in their areas. Conversely, responsible gun owners have been proven to stop crime at a higher rate than any other method or program studied in our country. If you want safer streets, more responsible gun owners is your best choice.
That’s not all. Even at $25, the new tax will disproportionately impact low-income families in California. One of the aims of the tax is to discourage first-time gun purchases, but that overlooks why many Californians might enter into such a demographic. Simply put, minorities bear the brunt of poverty in the state, and living in impoverished areas in the Golden State is exceedingly dangerous.
While this law probably wasn’t proposed with racist intent, it will have a racist outcome. To be specific, this law will disproportionately victimize minorities in violent crimes — all for a measly $25.
There’s a third issue to consider with this law: the 2nd Amendment. The wording is pretty clear. The right to bear arms shall not be infringed. This applies to excessive taxation as much as any other infringement the cooks in California can manifest. It doesn’t take a Constitutional scholar to surmise that the founding fathers might have had taxes in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment. Perhaps they wanted a way for the citizens to combat corrupt taxation?
Regardless of the clarity of the Constitution, you can assume that some form of this bill will make it through the state government. From there, it will be up to concerned citizens (probably through the organization of an activist group like the NRA or GOA) to push the bill into judicial review. This battle is more important than it might seem. If we don’t battle against excessive firearm taxes right now, we might find them priced out of everyone’s range within a few years.