Congress Gun Crime

Democrats Have A Way To Impose A 1000% Tax On AR-15s – And They Don’t Need A Single GOP Vote

With it becoming clearer by the day that Republicans in Congress have absolutely no intention of passing any sort of sensible gun control legislation this year, Democrats are trying to find creative ways to keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of young people at the very least.

And Business Insider reports one House Democrat has a bill that could help slow the sale of semiautomatic rifles in the United States by imposing a 1000% tax whenever one is purchased:

The recent violence is prompting one House Democrat to draft a measure aimed at severely restricting access to the AR-15-style weapons used by different gunmen in the carnage. Rep. Donald Beyer of Virginia, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means panel, wants to impose a 1,000% excise tax on assault weapons.

“What it’s intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen,” Beyer told Insider. “We think that a 1,000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation.”

What would such a tax do to the price of an AR-15 or similar weapon? According to NBC News, such a rifle currently lists for $500 to $2,000, depending on where it’s purchased. A 1000% tax would add anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 to the final price of such a gun. How many people have that sort of money to spend on a rifle of any kind, especially if the buyer is a young person?

But the real beauty of Beyer’s bill is that since it’s a tax issue, it could be included in budget legislation that only requires a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate to pass:

That outcome prompted Beyer to eye reconciliation, the legislative tactic allowing proposed laws to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster and pass with a simple majority. Democrats employed the maneuver in 2021 to approve both the stimulus law and the House-approved Build Back Better bill over united GOP resistance.

One expert says his measure likely qualifies for inclusion in a smaller spending bill containing pieces of President Joe Biden’s climate and tax agenda. Democrats hope to revive it by summer’s end.

Zach Moller, director of the economic program at the center-left Third Way think tank, said the AR-15 tax would indeed qualify for the reconciliation exemption:

“Taxes get more deference in budget reconciliation than other policies from a parliamentarian point of view.”

Additionally, if Republicans do manage to retake Congress in the midterm elections, it’d be almost impossible for them to repeal the new AR-15 tax because President Joe Biden could veto any such legislation, and overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, which is nearly impossible.

For his part, Beyer says the 1000% rate is open to debate, but needs to be high enough to keep the guns out of the hands of young adults:

“There’s nothing magical about that thousand percent number. It’s severe enough to actually inhibit and restrict sales. But also successful enough that it’s not seen as an absolute ban.”

Expect Republican whining to begin in 3, 2, 1…


By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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