A Democrat lawmaker on Capitol Hill is planning to sock AR-15s and the like with a prohibitive and arbitrary federal tax, slipped through Congress without bipartisan debate.

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, a Northern Virginia Dem who formerly served as the state's lieutenant governor in the 1990s and Obama's ambassador to Switzerland, told media last week he wants to impose a 1,000 percent excise tax on "assault weapons" and their magazines.

Such a move would bump the base price of an entry-model AR, such as a Diamondback DB15, Ruger AR556, or S&W M&P15, from about $650 to $7,150-- a figure that would still be subject to state and local taxes. 

Further, Beyer thinks the rarely-used tactic of budget reconciliation, which allows measures to pass on a simple majority vote that isn't subject to a Senate filibuster, is key to bypassing Republican opposition. The Democrats, counting Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker, hold a 51-vote majority in the Senate, and a conservative hold-out on partisan legislation in the caucus, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, said last week he is open to discussing a gun ban. 

"I’m writing a bill to restrict the flow of weapons of war into American communities - including AR-15s and high capacity magazines - that could bypass the filibuster and pass with just 50 votes in the Senate," said Beyer on social media. 

Consumer firearms are already one of the most taxed items in the country. Since 1937, the Pittman–Robertson Act levies a 10-to-11 percent excise tax on all firearms and ammunition sold or imported into the county to perform conservation-related tasks as varied as restoring elk habitat, funding safety programs, and establishing public shooting ranges. Since its induction, the firearm industry has paid a whopping $14.1 billion into the fund via the mandatory taxes. 

Besides the Pittman-Robertson taxes which are already factored into the price of firearms, research by the Tax Foundation shows that 45 states and the District of Columbia collect statewide sales taxes while additional local sales taxes are collected in 38 states. For example, Tennessee has a combined 9.55 percent sales tax.

The Biden administration has already used budget reconciliation to pass the $1.9 billion 628-page American Rescue Plan in 2021, which was approved 50-49 last March with Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Not a single Republican voted for it. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that no less than 19.8 million centerfire semi-auto rifles are in circulation, being one of the most widely-spread firearms in the country. 

"The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular rifle sold in America today, and with nearly 20 million in circulation, is clearly a commonly-owned firearm that is being used for lawful purposes every day in America," Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO, told Guns.com previously.