Washington State Democrats: Using Ammo A 'Privilege' That Needs To Be Taxed

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Feb 03, 2024 - 03:30 PM

Authored by Bill Pan via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The first month of the Washington Legislature’s 2024 session is ending with a slew of Democrat-backed gun control proposals, including a new measure to tax people who have the “privilege” of using ammunition.

PETALUMA, CA - APRIL 02: A box of 9mm bullets sits on the counter at Sportsmans Arms on April 2, 2013 in Petaluma, California. In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacare, California State lawmakers are introducing several bills that propose taxing and regulating sales of ammunition. Another bill is aimed to require a background check and annual permit fee to purchase any ammunition. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

House Bill 2238, sponsored by Democratic state Reps. My-Linh Thai and Liz Berry, would create an 11 percent tax on the retail sale of ammunition across the state in addition to all existing federal, state, and local sale and use taxes, with the exception of sales to governments for the purposes of supplying law enforcement agencies.

Instead of recognizing the purchase of ammunition as an integral part of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the language of the bill classifies it as a “privilege.”

“A use tax is levied on every person in this state for the privilege of using ammunition as a consumer at the rate of 11 percent of the selling price,” the bill reads.

The stated reason behind the proposal is to help reduce “gun violence,” or deaths involving guns—most of which are suicides.

“Gun violence remains a persistent health and safety threat for people across our state,” the bill’s authors wrote, admitting that nearly seven out of every 10 gun deaths in Washington are suicides..

“Data from the Washington office of firearm safety and violence prevention show that, in 2021, 69 percent of all firearm-related deaths were suicides,” they wrote.

Revenue from the proposed tax would go to funding suicide prevention programs, as well as programs aimed to reduce “firearm-related domestic violence.”

Ms. Berry, a gun control advocate who previously worked for former Rep. Gabby Giffords as her legislative director when the Democrat congresswoman was shot in the head in Tucson in 2011, also co-sponsored at least five other measures targeting guns.

Those proposals include House Bill 1902, which would apply requirements similar to those for a licensed concealed handgun carrier to all potential gun buyers in Washington. In addition to live-fire training, it would make fingerprinting a mandatory prerequisite to all Washington residents who wish to obtain a gun permit.

“This measure significantly combats straw purchasing and empowers law enforcement to establish an optimal safety framework in our state,” Ms. Berry said.

Another Democrat-backed measure, House Bill 2118, would add extra requirements for firearms dealers to retain their licenses. The bill would require that a dealer to be at least 21 years old and be subjected to annual background checks in order to sell guns. Additionally, firearms dealers would have to install alarm and surveillance systems at their place of business, review and respond to trace requests within 24 hours, report weapon loss or theft to the authority within 24 hours, and file annual reports to the state attorney general’s office.

House Bill 2054 also seeks to place restrictions on firearms dealers. The bill would prohibit them from selling or transferring more than one firearm to an individual within a 30-day window. Washington currently has no cap on the number of firearms a dealer can sell or transfer at a given time.

House Bill 1903, meanwhile, would put more legal obligations on gun owners. Under the proposed measure, victims of firearm theft must report the missing weapon within 24 hours after they become aware of the loss of the weapon. They would have to to include in their report detailed information about the weapon, including caliber, make, model, serial number, and manufacturer.

Current Washington law only requires that a gun theft to be reported to law enforcement within five days of when the owner of the gun knew it was stolen. Failure to report the lost or stolen firearm could lead to a charge of community endangerment. Under House Bill 1903, however, those who fail to report a missing firearm could be found guilty under a civil infraction, and could face a fine up to $1,000.

Also among the measures are House Bill 2021, which would essentially authorize Washington State Patrol officers to destroy privately owned guns in the custody of government entities. Under current law, the State Patrol is not authorized to destroy forfeited firearms, but they are allowed to sell or trade the ones that are in their possession.

“These bills will save lives,” Ms. Berry wrote on Facebook on Jan. 16, before she attended a public hearing on the five measures before the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee at the state Capitol in Olympia.