Connecticut isn’t a gun-friendly state and, frankly, probably never will be. Their anti-gun credentials can be summed up with two names: Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. The two senators for the state are rabid gun grabbers. Especially Murphy.
In fact, the state has never met a gun control law they didn’t like, it seems. Now, though, they want to raise money on the backs of law-abiding gun owners by taxing ammunition.
Gun rights activists in the state aren’t taking this lying down, either.
A proposal for a 35 percent excise tax on ammunition sold in the state to help pay the more than $1 billion cost of gun violence each year came under heavy fire during a public hearing Thursday.
Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, and other proponents are putting on a renewed push for a bill that’s been tried unsuccessfully before, and that would bring in $7 million annually in new taxes.
Gilchrest said her main rationale is that since there is no ammunition tax in the state, the entire cost of gun violence in Connecticut is footed by all residents when more than eight out of ten of them don’t even own a firearm.
“Why should the 84 percent of those who don’t own guns pay the same as those who do?” asked Gilchrest. “The status quo is unfair to the 84 percent who don’t own guns and ammunition.”
The difference is that the other remaining 16 percent are law-abiding citizens who aren’t responsible for gun violence either.
So-called gun violence is a criminal problem, not a gun problem. The keyword here is “violence.” Using the word “gun” as an adjective here simply specifies what type of violence we’re talking about, that’s all.
Yet if 16 percent of the population of Connecticut were committing violent acts on a regular basis, the state would be a virtual war zone. It would make Chicago look like Columbia, Maryland by comparison. Since nothing of the sort is happening, let’s not pretend Connecticut gun owners are responsible.
I’m not the only one who sees it that way, either.
Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, R-Derby, asked Gilchrest if there is anything else in the state of Connecticut that is taxed at a rate as high as 35 percent.
Gilchrest answered she did not know, adding that she considered her bill’s language, specifically the part asking for a 35 percent tax “to be a starting point,” and that she is open to further negotiations on whether that is the right rate to tax ammunition.
Klarides-Ditria said she sees the 35 percent rate an “attempt to punish legal firearm owners in Connecticut.”
That’s precisely what it is.
Gilchrest wants to punish gun owners because, by and large, they don’t share the right politics. They’re not vehemently anti-gun, so they’re not the right sort.
No one in their right mind thinks this will accomplish anything and let’s face it, a 35 percent tax is ridiculously high. It’s not about raising money, it’s an attempt to make it too expensive to own a firearm.
The unintended consequence of this, though, is that by taxing ammunition at such a high rate, Gilchrest is going to discourage gun owners from practicing with their firearms. Shooting is a perishable skill. Without regular training, accuracy decreases. That means the potential for collateral damage increases.
In other words, Gilchrest is actually putting lives at risk with this hair-brained scheme. Does she know? More importantly, does she care?
I think we all know the answer to that.