CT Lawmakers Facing Heat Over Proposed Ammo Tax

A proposed 35% excise tax on all ammunition purchases in the state of Connecticut drew criticism from gun owners and Second Amendment supporters on Thursday, who say that the proposed tax singles out legal gun owners and taxes them to pay for programs that all residents should be paying for.

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrist is the author of the proposed tax increase, and she tried to shame anyone who would question why only gun owners are being asked to pay for programs to reduce violent crime across the state.

An emotional scolding from State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D- West Harford) when asked whether her proposal to tax gun ammunition by 35% is a punishment on lawful gun owners.

“Shame on you, those being punished are the victims of gun violence from Hartford to Newtown,” she said.

Gilchrest said there has never been a comprehensive plan to fund gun violence prevention programs, and her proposal would do just that.

An estimated $50 box of bullets with a 35% excise tax would result in about $17.50 being paid to the state.

In total, Gilchrest expects the proposed tax to raise $7 million for programs to diffuse violence.

The “emotional scolding” from Gilchrist doesn’t change the fact that if “gun violence” is something all Connecticut residents should be concerned about, perhaps anti-violence programs are things that all Connecticut residents should be paying for. After all, it’s not the state’s legal gun owners that are driving the drug and gang-related violence in the state.

Not surprisingly, Moms Demand Action is on board with the tax hike, while the state’s largest Second Amendment organizations are opposed.

Connecticut Citizens Defense League leaders said, once again, the lawmakers are making a separate class of citizens. They are making different rules for themselves versus different rules for the civilians.

Ray Bevis represents CCDL and gun owners who say if an ammo tax is applied it should be applied to all, calling this a civil liberties tax.

“Gun owners in this state already have to pay a permit fee to buy ammunition, they have to be fingerprinted and background checked,” Bevis said.

Bevis said, while the gun safety action groups have a laudable mission, the state needs to stop pulling their dedicated funding. Then, maybe, there won’t be a need to target gun owners.

This bill proposal is being looked at by the finance revenue and boding committee. It is very early in the process and unclear whether the concept will get to a public hearing.

I think the CCDL is absolutely correct in calling this a civil liberties tax, and Gilchrest’s unhinged response to a simple question does nothing to bolster her case.

The anti-gun lawmaker actually proposed a an even larger tax of 50% on all ammunition sales in the state during the 2019 legislative session, but her bill went nowhere after pushback from gun owners and some self-inflicted damage to her own cause by making stupid statements like this.

“I’m hearing push back about the need to protect one’s home… but how much ammunition does someone really need to do that?” Gilchrest said in a post to social media that was soon bombarded with negative feedback from pro-gun commenters.

It’s clear that Gilchrest is far more interested in targeting legal gun owners than addressing violent crime in the state. Instead of working with gun owners on a solution, she simply believes that taxing gun owners is the solution. Hopefully this year’s bill suffers the same fate as her 2019 legislation, but gun owners in the state should be reaching out to their lawmakers to let their opposition be known.