California rejects gun tax for second year in a row

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

There’s not much I could tell you about California that would shock you. I could say they just banned pocket knives and you’d probably look at it and think, “Yeah, that figures,” then go about your day. It’s just how the state is.


However, there are exceptions.

After all, with California’s left-leaning policies and anti-gun sensibilities, a tax on guns sounds like a sure thing. Well, it’s clearly not.

California lawmakers for the second year rejected a new tax on gun sales Wednesday, despite their passage of numerous other gun control measures this year.

The money would go toward gun violence prevention, but the bill was seven votes short of the supermajority it needed in the state Senate in an initial vote.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine would impose a 10% excise tax on sales of handguns and 11% on sales of rifles and shotguns, ammunition, and parts used to build firearms starting July 1, 2023. His latest version includes an exemption for hunters buying long guns.

The bill stalled when two Democratic senators joined Republicans in opposition, and some other Democrats withheld their votes.

“Why are we taxing these law-abiding people?” asked Republican Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh. “Here we’re taxing them as if they’re criminals.”

“Most of the mass shootings we’ve seen recently have been guns purchased legally,” countered Democratic Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman. “We have too many damn guns.”

Levine’s previous version failed last year when it received 50 of the 54 votes it needed in the Assembly.


To me, the fascinating part is that this didn’t just fail, but failed twice.

There was still a majority who supported this measure, of course, but not enough to make it stick.

Now, the question is how much of that was because it was a tax and how much was because it was a gun tax? We already see was Sen. Eggman thinks of law-abiding gun owners–remember, she brought up mass shootings in response to a question of why law-abiding citizens were being taxed. She thinks we’re all potential mass shooters, apparently.

I mean, otherwise, she’d concede that mass shooters are the anomaly, a horrible black swan event that represents a statistical outlier when it comes to gun-related criminal activity, rather than a significant driver of such incidents.

But, since she’s unlikely to do so, we’re left with the understanding that she thinks highly of us all.

Luckily, it looks like cooler heads prevailed and the excise tax failed, which is good because it would drive the cost of gun ownership up significantly, making it even more difficult for low-income citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.


California doesn’t get a lot right when it comes to guns. They’ll pass just about any bit of gun control if they think they can get away with it, as we’ve seen over and over throughout the years.

In this case, they managed to actually do something right with regard to the Second Amendment. I doubt they meant to and I doubt we should hold our breath if they try it again, but I’ll take my wins where I can.

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