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IPFS News Link • Gun Rights

Washington State Democrats: Using Ammo A 'Privilege' That Needs To Be Taxed

•, by Bill Pan

House Bill 2238, sponsored by Democratic state Reps. My-Linh Thai and Liz Berry, would create an 11 percent tax on the retail sale of ammunition across the state in addition to all existing federal, state, and local sale and use taxes, with the exception of sales to governments for the purposes of supplying law enforcement agencies.

Instead of recognizing the purchase of ammunition as an integral part of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the language of the bill classifies it as a "privilege."

"A use tax is levied on every person in this state for the privilege of using ammunition as a consumer at the rate of 11 percent of the selling price," the bill reads.

The stated reason behind the proposal is to help reduce "gun violence," or deaths involving guns—most of which are suicides.

"Gun violence remains a persistent health and safety threat for people across our state," the bill's authors wrote, admitting that nearly seven out of every 10 gun deaths in Washington are suicides..

"Data from the Washington office of firearm safety and violence prevention show that, in 2021, 69 percent of all firearm-related deaths were suicides," they wrote.

Revenue from the proposed tax would go to funding suicide prevention programs, as well as programs aimed to reduce "firearm-related domestic violence."

Ms. Berry, a gun control advocate who previously worked for former Rep. Gabby Giffords as her legislative director when the Democrat congresswoman was shot in the head in Tucson in 2011, also co-sponsored at least five other measures targeting guns.

Those proposals include House Bill 1902, which would apply requirements similar to those for a licensed concealed handgun carrier to all potential gun buyers in Washington. In addition to live-fire training, it would make fingerprinting a mandatory prerequisite to all Washington residents who wish to obtain a gun permit.

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