Guns and ammo tax proposals will come to a screeching halt if Missouri Representative Sam Graves has his way. The Republican lawmaker’s PHEASANT Act, HR 2361, would prohibit local officials from enacting additional taxes on firearms and ammunition. The Protecting Honest, Everyday Americans from Senseless and Needless Taxes – or PHEASANT Act has a strong chance of passing both the Senate and the House, according to the sponsoring representative’s estimates.
The Missouri representative’s PHEASANT Act was drafted at least in part as a response to Second Amendment infringing gun control laws in multiple states. A plethora of new ammo taxes, ammo fees, ammo permits, ammo background checks, gun taxes, and high-capacity magazine laws have been proposed and passed.
Representative Sam Graves had this to say about the PHEASANT Act:
“You’re seeing a lot of municipalities just imposing a tax to infringe and that’s part of the problem. I believe that’s in conflict with the Constitution because it states the right for people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this is infringing upon their right to do that and we’re just trying to stop that. I am hopeful we can get it through the Senate. The president may decide not to sign it. He has a much different attitude toward Second Amendment rights than I do. One of the areas that have taken advantage to tax the sale of firearms and ammunition has been Chicago, which is obviously where he is from. I’m not too worried about Missouri, but I want to make sure that in the future we don’t ever have to worry about it in Missouri or any other state.”
Representative Graves went on to state that he anticipated opposition from some state groups and those who seek to highly-regulate the sale of guns in America. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) praised Sam Graves for drafting legislation that would prevent even more states from attaching fees or raising taxes on guns and ammo purchases.
NSSF Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane had this to say about the guns and ammo taxes bill:
“Congressman Graves is to be commended for introducing a bill to prevent one of the latest tactics of anti-gun politicians, that is pricing firearms and ammunition out of reach of responsible, law-abiding Americans through new taxes on the state or local level. We believe that such taxes are unconstitutional and, in effect, amount to a poll tax on the Second Amendment. We endorse H.R. 2361.”
An excerpt from the PHEASANT Act reads:
“To limit the authority of states and local governments to impose new taxes or to increase rates of existing taxes, payable with respect to the sale of certain firearms or ammunition or payable for background checks incident to sales of firearms or ammunition. Findings and Purpose: Findings – the Congress find the following: The individual right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution includes the right to acquire firearms and ammunition without undue burdens. Jurisdictions have imposed taxes of fees on the acquisition of firearms and ammunition that inhibit the exercise of the Second Amendment, particularly individuals of limited means.”
The PHEASANT Act goes on to state that localized taxation of guns and ammo suppresses legal interstate commerce that is “vital to a robust Second Amendment to the Constitution.” HR 2361 says that the United States Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce in weapons and ammo to make certain that individual states are not curtailing access the lawful purchases.
Missouri Representative Sam Graves’ legislation also notes that, by singling out guns and ammo products for special taxation, it disproportionately impacts folks living in low-income communities where the need for self-defense could be “especially acute.”
Excerpt from Section 3 of the Protecting Honest, Everyday Americans from Senseless and Needless Taxes Act:
“No state or local government may impose a new tax on the sale of firearms (or ay certain type of firearms) that have moved in or that otherwise affect interstate commerce, or on the sale of ammunition (or any certain type of ammunition) that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate commerce, if the respective state or local government does not have in effect on the date of the enactment of this act, a tax on such sale of firearms or ammunition or increase the rate of a tax imposed on the sale of firearms or ammunition.”
Section 4 of HR 2361 also says that states and local governmental entities cannot impose a tax for conducting background checks on guns and ammo purchases. If the Missouri Representative’s gun rights bill passes, state and municipalities also would be prohibited from increasing any such tax already in existence.
Representative Graves, also a Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus member, had this to say about the recent flurry of state legislation designed to make guns and ammo purchases far more expensive:
“Taxing the purchase of firearms or ammunition is the equivalent to charging a poll tax for exercising the right to vote. Putting these basic self-defense tools out of financial reach for many average Americans is a new tactic developed by anti-gun politicians to prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their basic constitutional rights. This is just another slippery way to enact a gun ban, and it’s wrong.”
Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, passed a $25 tax on new gun purchases earlier this year, according to the Daily Caller. Maryland, Connecticut, California, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, and New Jersey recently introduced similar ammo tax, permit, or background check proposals.
Democratic California Representative Linda Sanchez recently introduced a HR 793, which is the polar opposite of the PHEASANT Act. HR 793, also known as the Firearm Safety and Buyback Grant Act, proposes a tax on handgun purchase and concealed firearms. The gun control bill proposes a tax equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of any concealable firearm. The anti-Second Amendment legislation exempts federal, state, and local governments from paying the proposed gun tax.
An excerpt from HR 793 reads:
“By Whom Paid – The tax imposed by subsection shall be paid by the seller of the concealable firearm. In General – If any person uses an article taxable under this section before the first retail sale of such article, then such person shall be liable for tax under this section in the same manner as if such article were sold at retail by him. In General – The Attorney General shall establish, in accordance with the provisions of this section, a grant program under which the Attorney General may make grants to eligible entities described in subsection (d)(1) for State, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies to carry out anti-violence campaigns, gun safety campaigns, and firearms buyback programs.
Firearms Buyback Program Defined – For purposes of this section, the term ‘firearms buyback program’ means, with respect to a State, tribal, or local law enforcement agency, a program carried out by such agency —
- under which the agency purchases firearms from, or accepts firearm donations made by, individuals;
- the goal of which is to promote anti-violence campaigns, gun safety, and proper disposal of firearms, and to provide a process under which individuals may anonymously turn in firearms to such agency; and
- under which such agency may take measures to identify if a firearm obtained through such program is lost or stolen and may take measures to return any such firearm so identified to the owner of such firearm.”
Representative Graves’ PHEASANT Act would thwart further these backdoor attempts at making gun owners dig even deeper into their pockets in order to protect themselves and their families, and stop liberals from infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of the citizenry.