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California Increases Gun And Ammunition Sales Taxes

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two new laws on Tuesday that will restrict public space gun carrying and increase taxes on guns and ammunition sold in the state, the Associated Press reports. The first of the laws will ban people from carrying firearms in most public places, while the second doubles taxes on gun and ammunition sales in California. The second law adds another 11% tax on top of the already-existing 10% or 11% federal tax on guns and ammunition and makes California the only state with such a law. The money raised from the new tax will pay for security improvements at public schools and a variety of gun violence prevention programs, including those geared toward young people in gangs. Newsom acknowledged many of these laws might not survive legal challenges now that the U.S. Supreme Court has imposed a new standard on interpreting the nation’s gun laws.

California has some of the lowest gun death rates in the country, ranking 43rd out of 50 states with nine deaths for every 100,000 people. But violent crimes have increased recently; the violent crime rate increased by 6.1% in 2022. No other state has a special tax just for guns and ammunition, although some local governments do. Tennessee once had a 10-cent tax on shotgun shells, but that tax was repealed in 2019. Pennsylvania collects a $3 surcharge on gun sales to pay for background checks. Fees on California gun purchases currently total more than $37, with most of that money paying for background checks. The tax has some exceptions. It would not apply to police officers and it would not apply to businesses with sales of less than $5,000 over a three-month period. State officials estimate it would generate about $159 million annually.


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