'War on the Second Amendment': California passes tax law to discourage gun ownership in the state

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SACRAMENTO, CA – On the heels of seeking a constitutional convention to add a gun control amendment to the US Constitution, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed three bills into law, each supposedly intended to reduce gun violence.

Of the three bills, one is a sales tax increase on all weapons and ammunition sold in the state.

According to the Associated Press, the federal tax on weapons already sit at 10% to 11%, depending on the type of weapon being purchased. Now, the bills signed by Newsom adds an additional 11% at the state level.

California already incorporates a 7.25% sales tax. Each city then tacks on an additional 7.25% to 10.75%, depending on the city, according to the State website.

For a $500 gun purchase, the taxes are piling up for purchasers. For example, in Alameda, California, where local sales taxes are 10.75, that purchase total is now $663.75 after factoring in federal, state and local taxes.

That equates to roughly a 33% tax rate.

Those same tax rates apply to ammunition sales as well. A 50-count box of 9mm rounds that sells for $30 will now cost just short of $40.

This is also in addition to previous bills enacted in the state that requires a background check on ammunition purchases as well as daily limits on how many rounds can be purchased.

According to the governor’s office, the increase in revenue will be used for covering the costs of security upgrades in the state’s public schools. The state estimates that these new tax rates will generate an additional $159M annually.

The first $75M will be dedicated to the state’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program. This program funds “projects targeting young people in gangs, including sports programs, life coaching and tattoo removal.”

The next $50 million would go to the State Department of Education to boost security at public schools. Those improvements includes things like “physical security improvements, safety assessments, after-school programs for at-risk students and mental and behavioral health services for students, teachers and other school employees.”

Additionally, the bills limit the public spaces that individuals with licenses to carry are permitted to be in possession of a firearm.

Per the AP piece, the laws limit where weapons may not be carried. “It [the new law] specifically bans people from carrying guns in 26 places, including public parks and playgrounds, public demonstrations and gatherings, amusement parks, churches, banks, zoos and 'any other privately owned commercial establishment that is open to the public' unless the owner puts up a sign saying guns are allowed.”

Governor Newsom has stated that he doubts these laws will withstand the legal battles that are already being filed, given last year’s Supreme Court decision in the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case.  

“It may mean nothing if the federal courts are throwing them out,” Newsom said. “We feel very strongly that these bills meet the new standard (Bruen), and they were drafted accordingly. But I’m not naive about the recklessness of the federal courts and the ideological agenda.”

A federal judge already shot down one of the new laws in California that bans guns with detachable magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.

Not all Californians are in favor of the new laws. “These laws will not make us safer. They are an unconstitutional retaliatory and vindictive response to the Supreme Court’s affirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individuals’ right to choose to own a firearm for sport or to defend your family,” said Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

“They are being challenged, and the second they are signed, the clock starts ticking towards a judgment striking them down.”
 
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