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No, Placing More Taxes on Guns and Ammo Won’t Stop Mass Shootings

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Massachusetts Senator and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren believes levying more taxes on guns and ammunition will reduce the likelihood of mass shootings by 80 percent.


She tweeted, “Increasing taxes on gun manufacturers will reduce gun and ammunition sales and bring in new federal revenue that we can use for both gun violence prevention and enforcement of existing gun laws. Together, we can hold gun manufacturers accountable.”

During a Moms Demand Action forum in Iowa over the weekend, Warren signaled support for the following:

Warren, who is set to appear along with most of the other 20-plus Democratic presidential candidates at a gun control forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, is also proposing universal background checks, federal gun licensing, a one-week waiting period on all gun purchases to limit impulsive violence, a ban on assault weapons and a newly empowered Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among a host of other suggestions.

Warren chose the 80% mark for gun violence death reductions in order to echo the 80% reduction in driving deaths since 1965, when Congress decided the number of people dying in automobile accidents was unacceptable.

“We’ll start by implementing solutions that we believe will work,” she wrote. “We’ll continue by constantly revisiting and updating those solutions based on new public health research. And we’ll make structural changes to end the ability of corrupt extremists to block our government from defending the lives of our people

Levying further taxes on guns and ammo to the point of making obtaining them virtually impossible is a clear infringement on Second Amendment rights. Some are suggesting placing more taxes on guns like the government does on tobacco will deter bad behavior. That’s a bit of a stretch. Moreover, this plan would go after law-abiding gun owners, not the criminals who abuse guns, the most.

Also, there’s historical evidence that heavy taxation on items or goods doesn’t work. Case in point: our quest for American independence. We broke away from England because they levied burdensome taxes on the 13 Colonies.

Proposals like Warren’s will also have deleterious consequences on conservation funding.

Excise taxes are collected on guns and ammo through the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 by the Department of Interior to be later disbursed to state wildlife agencies for hunters education, wildlife restoration, and habitat rehabilitation efforts. The bulk of excise taxes collected come from guns and ammo.

It would be nice if politicians like Warren demonstrated seriousness about stopping gun violence, not stripping law-abiding gun owners of their ability to safely and responsibly own guns.

Alas, we won’t see today’s Democrat Party do that.


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