Back in 2019, Connecticut State Rep. Jillian Gilchrist proposed a whopping 50% tax on the sale of all firearms and ammunition in the state, declaring that the goal was to reduce the number of firearms in the hands of private citizens and comparing the proposed tax hike to similar high taxes on cigarettes.
“When we increase that tax we’ve seen a reduction in use. And so we want to continue Connecticut’s legacy of being a leader on preventing and addressing gun violence and we see this as another step forward in that direction.”
Gilchrist was blasted for her proposal, which would have had a chilling effect on all gun owners, but particularly lower-income residents who could easily have been priced out of exercising their Second Amendment rights.
The bill failed, but she brought it back in a revised form last year; dropping the proposed tax rate from 50% down to 35%. Her measure still couldn’t pass the House, but Gilchrist isn’t ready to let the issue die.
This year, the anti-gun Democrat has introduced yet another version of her tax on the Second Amendment. Gilchrist’s latest proposal wouldn’t tax firearms, but would still impose a new tax of two cents on every round of ammunition sold in .22 caliber or smaller, with a five cent per round tax on larger caliber ammunition.
“Neighborhoods where poverty is most concentrated bear the largest brunt of gun homicides, crime, and associated trauma,” Gilchrest wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday. “While we work to address Connecticut’s extreme economic disparity, we must provide immediate relief to prevent gun violence, which has only worsened during the pandemic. Connecticut has evidence-based programs … we just need to fund them.”
Her latest proposal has already won praise from gun violence prevention groups including the Connecticut chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, part of the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Community-led intervention groups have saved lives in Connecticut for years, and this new legislation would ensure they can continue that work for years to come,” said Stacey Mayer, a volunteer with the Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful to Rep. Gilchrest for reintroducing this legislation, especially after a violent year for so many of our cities. We look forward to supporting this legislation every step of the way.”
If “evidence-based programs” need to be funded, why should gun owners alone be the ones to do it? After all, the vast majority of gun owners will never commit a violent crime of any kind, so why does Gilchrist believe that they’re the ones who should be funding the types of programs that she says works to reduce violence?
Gilchrist also says that the state needs to address economic disparity, yet her bill would add to it. Any new tax on the sale of ammunition is still going to hit lower-income residents in Hartford harder than it will wealthy gun owners in Greenwich. I believe the tax is a bad idea for all involved, but it’s ridiculous for Gilchrist to claim she’s bothered by economic inequality while contributing to it.
Of course the gun ban moms are all in favor of Gilchrist’s proposal, even though the representative’s claimed motivation has shifted from trying to reduce the number of guns sold to using gun owners as a cash cow to fund anti-violence initiatives. As long Gilchrist’s attention is still aimed at legal gun owners instead of violent criminals there’s no reason for Moms Demand Action to be opposed to her efforts.
Violent crime did go up in Connecticut last year, despite the sweeping gun control laws that were imposed on the state’s gun owners less than a decade ago. Restricting the rights of Connecticut residents hasn’t made the state any safer, and taxing their right to bear arms isn’t the answer.
If Gilchrist truly believes that these programs need more state funding, then she should come up with an equitable way for every Connecticut taxpayer to do their share and not try to impose a financial burden on the backs of gun owners in the name of fighting violent crime.
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