The worst possible nightmare for many politicians–and especially for California Assembly members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Paul Koretz–is that citizens actually start to pay attention to their everyday shenanigans. Several times now, socialist fiefs in California’s Assembly have tried to pass a statewide tax on ammunition. And although Californians consistently shoo them away, they continue to scratch at the screen door. Someday, they hope, no one will be paying attention and they will manage to scamper into the kitchen. But not today.
Los Angeles Assemblyman Ridley-Thomas reintroduced the idea of an ammunition tax in February via Assembly Bill 992, this time claiming that the proceeds would benefit “Trauma Centers” that treat uninsured gunshot victims. In California, words like “trauma” sell, and two weeks ago the Committee on Public Safety approved the bill. And just in case the Assembly doesn’t approve it, notorious Hollywood Assemblyman Paul Koretz introduced a word-for-word identical bill labeled AB 602. So even if Ridley-Thomas has the door slammed shut in his face, these two persistent pests can keep on scratching.
The tax that they are trumpeting is regressive. That’s right–you read that correctly. Ridley-Thomas’ proposed tax is regressive, which means that it taxes the poor to a greater extent than it does the rich. That kind of a taxation strategy may seem like a shocking proposition from long-time leftists like Ridley-Thomas or Koretz, but to be fair there is ample evidence to suggest that neither of them actually read the proposed legislation before it was introduced, so how could they have known? Bravo, gentlemen.
AB 992 proposes a $0.10 tax on every munition, although Assembly members prefer to use the more polite phrase, “non-tax levy.” To someone who has done absolutely no research on the subject of firearms (or the principles of the U.S. government) this tax structure might make some sort of “sense.” After all, a dime does not sound like a whole lot of money, and bullets are bullets. Except that some bullets are 30 times more expensive than others.
If an Assembly member were to ask a police sniper what a box of 50 rounds of ammunition costs, the officer would probably quote a figure somewhere around $50 (for match-grade .308). From that perspective, an extra $5 fee for a $50 purchase may sound like a “reasonable” 10% tax. If, however, that Assemblyman were to bother posing the same question to a farmer who typically uses his rifle for varmint hunting, the farmer would probably quote a figure of about $1.67 (for .22 rimfire). From the farmer’s perspective, an extra $5 fee for a $1.67 purchase is equivalent to a 300% tax. If Ridley-Thomas asked anyone at all about the impact of his “non-tax levy,” odds are that it was someone wearing Kevlar, not denim.
To make matters worse the Ridley-Thomas bill makes a point of defining the word “munition,” presumably in an effort to remove any wiggle room by which those dreaded gun owners might avoid paying the “non-tax levy.” But his ignorant definition makes the tax regressive. Oops.
“For the purposes of this section,” AB 992 reads, “a