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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Gun Tax?

On my commute home yesterday I noticed something on Twitter or Drudge (I forget which) about Senator Harry Reid proposing a "gun tax" as part of the Senate gun control bill.  I saw more details when I opened up my email this morning.  From The Heritage Foundation via Red State:
Title I of the Reid gun control bill purports to “fix gun checks.” The proposed “fix” in section 122 of S. 649 is to take away an individual’s right to sell or give away a firearm to another individual unless, in most cases, the individual (1) uses a licensed importer, dealer, or manufacturer to make the transfer of the firearm and (2) pays a fee to that importer, dealer, or manufacturer to make the transfer.
The individual transferring the firearm is not actually receiving a service; the federal government is receiving the service. The service the government gets is a background check on the intended recipient of the firearm, because the law requires the importer, dealer, or manufacturer to run the recipient through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Forcing the individual to pay for the government-mandated service, which is in fact a service to the government, is in essence a federal tax on the individual. And the amount the individual pays as a fee is not limited by the legislation; section 122(a)(4) of the Reid bill enacts a new section 922(t)(4)(B)(i) of title 18 of the U.S. Code to grant to Attorney General Eric Holder the power to set the maximum fee by regulation.

One of the reasons VSSA has opposed in the Virginia General Assembly so-called "universal background" check proposals that require private sellers to go through licensed firearm retailers to sell their personal property is because it would most certainly involve a fee (if for no other reason to be fair to a retailer who is taking time from trying to sell his own stock to complete a sale for a private seller).  Open ended fees like the one above make it harder for those who most need a firearm for self defense to get them - the poor and the antis will price gun ownership right out of existance for a large segment of the population.

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