Official proposes bullet tax to curb Chicago crime

As Chicago struggles to quell gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides, a top elected official wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm — an effort that has national gun-rights advocates already considering a legal challenge.
Associated Press
Oct 19, 2012

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle submitted a proposed budget on Thursday that would impose a tax of a nickel for each bullet and $25 for each firearm sold in the nation's second-largest county, which encompasses Chicago.

Preckwinkle's office estimates the tax will generate about $1 million a year, money that would be used for various county services including medical care for gunshot victims. Law enforcement officials would not have to pay the tax, but the office said it would apply to 40 federally licensed gun dealers in the county.

Through last week, the city reported 409 homicides this year compared to 324 during the same period in 2011. Although the violence still doesn't approach the nearly 900 homicides a year Chicago averaged in the 1990s, officials say gang activity was largely to blame for a rash of shootings earlier this year.

Preckwinkle insists the ordinance is far more about addressing gun violence than raising money for a county that faces a budget shortfall of more than $260 million.

"The violence in Cook County is devastating and the wide availability of ammunition only exacerbates the problem," she told the board Thursday.

Dave Workman, of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Bear Arms, said the tax is sure to infuriate gun-rights advocates when they hear about it.

"It's not the law-abiding citizens stacking bodies like cordwood in Chicago; it's the bad guys," he said.

Preckwinkle sought to fend off that argument during her remarks Thursday. She said nearly a third of the guns recovered by police after being used in Chicago crimes had been purchased legally, initially at least, in suburban Cook County.

Earlier this week during a meeting with a newspaper editor board, Preckwinkle called the county's legal gun shops "a conduit for crimes in Chicago," according to a transcript released by her office.

Neither Preckwinkle spokeswoman Kristen Mack nor a National Rifle Association spokesman knew of any other local jurisdiction in the nation that has imposed a tax on bullets, even though some have considered it. Legislation on such a tax was previously introduced by state lawmakers in Springfield, but it was never been voted on, Mack said.

Gun rights advocates from around the country who watched closely as Chicago's handgun ban made its way through the courts, culminating in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 to overturn it, say this proposal has definitely caught their attention.

"Eyes are on Chicago and Illinois right now," said Andrew Arulanandam, a NRA spokesman.

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, predicted the effort would "drive business out of Cook County" and into other counties and bordering states, such as Indiana and Wisconsin.

One suburban gun shop owner agreed, saying that his customers, many of whom are hunters, will simply go elsewhere.

"Who's going to come to Tinley Park to buy ammunition," said Fred Lutger, the owner of Freddie Bear Sport in that suburban Chicago community.

As for the money going toward treating gunshot victims, Lutger said, "Why should we be paying for gang bangers shooting each other?"

Some members of the county board that will be asked to approve the budget have expressed skepticism about whether the tax would raise as much money as Preckwinkle expects because it would simply prompt consumers to go elsewhere for their bullets and firearms.

Commissioner John Fritchey questioned whether county was simply setting itself up for a lawsuit that will cost the county more money than the tax will bring in. He also wondered if it would have any role in reducing crime.

"I don't think a nickel a bullet will cause a shooter to rethink pulling the trigger," he said.

Workman predicted a public outcry against Preckwinkle's motivation for proposing the measure.

"I could envision a coalition of different groups saying, 'Wait a minute, you are making us financially responsible for the Cook County government's inability to hold down spending?" he said.

While Arulanandam promised that the NRA "will jump on this issue," and perhaps sue, Preckwinkle said she wasn't worried about a lawsuit.

"You're welcome to sue," she said. "We've looked at this and we believe we can survive any challenge."

 

Comments

2cents

I can hear it now.
(Hey yo gib me box them bullits and that shiney gun there, WHAT you say wait period mofo, tax what that fo? Sheeet, I just getim meself.)

Pundit

Its true, the Constitution doesn't mention ammunition, so that could be a way to effectively end handguns.

I'm Sure Scalia could find something in the text...

luvblues2

"While Arulanandam promised that the NRA "will jump on this issue," and perhaps sue, Preckwinkle said she wasn't worried about a lawsuit.

"You're welcome to sue," she said. "We've looked at this and we believe we can survive any challenge." "

Good luck with that, you clueless *****. They won't sue, they'll shoot you..

Eph 2 8-10

What it really is, is, THE JOKE OF THE DAY!!!

beepx22

but guns are already mostly illegal in Chicago...

thinktwice

hey that'll fix it...

Just Thinkin

WOW what a bright idea, Lets throw on a baby machine making tax along with foodstamp tax, then demand everyone in Chi town to get a job and take care of thems babies they's be pumpin out LOL

mikel

bahahahaha

KnuckleDragger

"Preckwinkle sought to fend off that argument during her remarks Thursday. She said nearly a third of the guns recovered by police after being used in Chicago crimes had been purchased legally, initially at least, in suburban Cook County."

This is politicospeak for a law abiding citizen purchased the gun and then a criminal broke into their house and stole it. Nice play on words. Nothing like blaming a gun dealer because some thug stole a legally sold gun. These politicians just don't get it, Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the nation, and enjoys the distinction of also having one of the highest rates of gun crime and homicide in the nation. I have a better idea, legalize concealed carry and just as in other states you will see a decrease in gun crime. Anyone who thinks criminals don't size up their victims is clueless.

abigbear

wow put a tax to curb the sell of ammo
and raise 1M in taxes !!!! just a way to get more of our $$$

Second Opinion

How about a tax for EXECUTING THEM to pay for the drug or electricity!

Lightbird

With a Bang-Bang here and a bang-bang there/Here a bang/There a bang/Everywhere a bang bang....Go for it !!!! Shoot a hole in their money pocket...at least "some" of the shootin' will stop.

mikel

of course, following the dem agenda, will this only be levied on people making more than $250,000 so the low/middle class will not see an increase in their taxes???

DBDBDB

Once again, this just demonstrates how truly clueless Liberal/Progressives really are.

Riskkbreaker

At his second debate with Romney, Obama basically said that he wants assault rifles banned...but then, he goes on to say that we need to look at other options as well because even in his own city, Chicago, "there’s an awful lot of violence and they’re not using AK-47s. They are using cheap hand guns."

Obama says we need to look at other options because there are crimes being committed with handguns as well??
U.N. Small Arms Treaty, anyone? Obama has already signed it and I think he would get to name another Supreme Court Justice if he gets re-elected, which would then allow him to have a 3-2 majority on the gun-grabbing issue (or would it be 4-1 majority..does he get to appoint two more or one more?).

Without the 2nd ammendment, the Constitution is just a restraining order that your psycho ex-boy/girlfriend (symbolizing the tyrants of history) could care less about.
Vote Obama OUT.

nosey rosey

Why not? We already discriminate against smokers and drinkers so really what is the difference?

KURTje

This is stupid like the Brady Bill. (That guy flipped-flopped & he worked for Reagan)

swiss cheese kat

This is an attempt to take money from lawful gun owners to pay for the violence of gang bangers and then pay for the bangers healthcare when they shoot each other up.

So it will be OK to shoot someone as long as the bullet has been taxed?

Riskkbreaker

When a President is elected, he gets to appoint two Supreme Court Justices to replace two other Justices.
Obama appointed two Justices who want to get rid of the 2nd ammendment. Then he signed the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.

What do you think he is going to do for his new appointees he gets to name if re-elected? He will appoint more Justices that support the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, and then he will have the majority in the SCOTUS on this issue.
Of course, tho..he will not bear the blame. Some incident will happen somewhere and it will go before the Supreme Court. Obama will merely say that he did not have a crystal ball and that he only appointed them because of their positions on other issues not related to gun control.
The Obamatrons will believe him and probably blame Republican supporters..it will probably be an incident involving alleged Republican supporters.

Without the 2nd ammendment, the Constitution is just a piece of paper..like a restraining order which your psycho ex-boy/girlfriend (symbolizing the tyrants of history) could care less about.
Vote Obama OUT.