Plan in Illinois would sock gun buyers with extra taxes

Legislation pending in the Illinois General Assembly aims to hike the price of firearms via a mandatory new surcharge. The bill, introduced this week in the state House by Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, would tack on a 3.75 percent tax on guns and undefined “component parts.” Filed as HB 2331, the money garnered would be funneled to a youth assistance fund to be used for grant programs in the state.

Mayfield introduced a similar version of the measure in 2017. With more than 2,000 witness slips filed with the legislature in opposition to the move and only 50 in favor of it, that bill was tabled in committee. However, since then, courts have upheld Cook County’s local $25 per gun and up to 5-cents per round tax.

The National Rifle Association this week branded Mayfield’s latest proposal as an unjust way to “saddle” law-abiding gun owners with a special tax to fund unspecified projects while contending that criminals typically obtain their firearms by illegal means not subject to tax, “such as theft, straw purchase, or on the black market.”

Elsewhere in the country, lawmakers in Connecticut have proposed a 50 percent tax on ammunition in that state while a “gun violence” tax in Seattle has been the target of legal challenges from gun rights advocates since it was adopted in 2015.

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