Connecticut Dems introduce bill to add 50 percent tax on ammo

A first-term Connecticut lawmaker wants to hike the price of ammunition in the state through the application of a special tax.

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-Hartford introduced HB 5700 late last month to tack on a 50 percent tax to ammo sales, a move for which she has found co-sponsors for in the state Senate.

In a statement, House Democrats clarified the bill would exclude ammo sales to police and the military. They argued the measure would reduce the rate of gun deaths in the state, which is already low, while conceding some 83 percent of those were attributable to suicides.

“I’m hearing push back about the need to protect one’s home… but how much ammunition does someone really need to do that?” Gilcrest said in a post to social media that was soon bombarded with negative feedback from pro-gun commenters.

The freshman legislator was elected last year to represent Connecticut’s 18th District with support and endorsement of state and local anti-gun groups including Connecticut Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action. In 2017, she advocated against concealed carry reciprocity and in favor of more gun regulation.

The National Rifle Association called the proposed new legislation “dreadful” going on to say it “punishes law-abiding citizens and makes it harder to learn how to safely use firearms.”

While an arbitrary 5-cents per round tax on ammunition in Cook County, Illinois and a similar one in Washington state have been upheld by local courts, a federal judge in 2016 found that a $1,000 excise tax on handguns in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory near Guam, was unconstitutional.

Gilchrest’s bill, co-sponsored by first-term Sen. Will Haskell, has been referred to Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding. Both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly are firmly controlled by the Democrats. Meanwhile, newly installed Gov. Ned Lamont, D, received an “F” grade from the National Rifle Association on his run for office last year for his avowed support of gun control policies and endorsement from groups such as Giffords.

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