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California Legislature Passes Tax On Guns, Ammunition

The latest in a series of strict state gun laws is a first-in-the-nation excise tax on firearms and ammunition passed by the California legislature. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill, California would impose an 11% excise tax on all guns and ammunition sales. The proceeds would be spent on gun violence prevention and school safety programs reports the Wall Street Journal. Typically, the federal government has long imposed an excise tax of 10% on the wholesale price of handguns and 11% on long guns and ammunition, with the proceeds funding conservation and hunter education. The California bill won final passage in both the state Senate and Assembly on Thursday. All Republicans in both chambers opposed it or didn’t vote in preliminary tallies. It now is en route to Newsom, who hasn’t taken a public position. Newsom has championed gun control and a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting Second Amendment rights. Under the bill, sales to law enforcement agencies and officers, or retired officers, would be exempt. In addition, firearms vendors with under $5,000 in sales per quarter wouldn’t have to impose the tax. “It’s shameful that gun manufacturers are reaping record profits at the same time that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for kids in the United States,” said Jesse Gabriel, a Democratic Assembly member who authored the bill. Gun-rights groups say the bill will make it harder for people to buy guns legally and will price hunters and youth sports shooters out of their hobbies. Gun-control groups have pushed similar legislation around the U.S. for years. “You can’t tax a constitutional right,” said Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, a firearms advocacy group. “This is part of the strategy to price people out of the market.” Because it is a tax increase, the bill required approval from two-thirds of legislators in each chamber, where. Democrats hold supermajorities.


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