When you’re poor, things are rough in ways most people can’t understand. Not only are you likely to live in the worst neighborhoods, you’re likely to be subjected to all kinds of crime. It’s not unreasonable that you’d want to defend yourself.
Even if you don’t live in those neighborhoods, maybe because you’re out in the country, you still have it rough. In fact, it might be bad enough you do a lot of hunting just to cover your needs. Hell, I had a great grandfather who fed his family during the Great Depression that way.
Of course, either of these things means you probably should buy a gun. It’s the best way to do either of these things. In Illinois, though, there’s a bill that will make it just that much harder for poor people to buy firearms.
An Illinois lawmaker is proposing an additional 10 percent sales tax on what she calls “assault weapons” but an advocate says her novel definition of the term would mean nearly all firearms would be hit with the tax.
A firearm sale in Illinois already includes federal taxes, state sales taxes, and local taxes. Chicago assesses a $25 per gun fee that’s long-faced a legal challenge.
State Sen. Ann Gillespie’s Senate Bill 2468 would impose a 10 percent retail sales tax on what she calls “assault weapons” and their magazines, which she refers to as a “large capacity ammunition feeding device” that would hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Her definition of a qualifying gun is anything that would accept one of those magazines, something Todd Vandermyde with the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois says would encompass the broad majority of guns sold.
“Every modern handgun that’s not a revolver or a Derringer comes into play,” he said, adding that the tax would nearly immediately face a court challenge upon passage.
Vandermyde argues that the tax can be circumvented by purchasing a gun online and transferring it to a local FFL for transfer, and he’s probably right. What he didn’t count on, what the real problem is, is for how long? How long will that be allowed to remain the case?
Additionally, most online retailers don’t sell used guns. They sell new firearms, by and large, which come with a much higher price tag. That means they’re likely too expensive for indigent people looking for something they can use for self-defense.
Vandermyde is also correct about all the handguns this bill would cover. What he didn’t point out was how many .22 rifles would be caught up in this mess as well. You know, the preferred rifle for small game hunting? The Ruger 10/22, perhaps the most popular .22 rifle on the market, can take magazines of more than 10 rounds. It’ll qualify as an assault weapon under this bill.
That’s going to hurt those looking to supplement their groceries with fresh small game like squirrels or rabbits.
At the end of the day, all this will do is drive up costs for law-abiding people, making it harder for some of our most vulnerable citizens to defend themselves, and do nothing to deter any crime at all. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that, but then again, maybe the lawmakers who support this tax aren’t as interested in deterring crime as they are deterring gun ownership.