Attempting to Further Tax a Right

The email I got this morning was regarding this bill:

AN ACT Relating to promoting firearm safety through an education program funded through fees on firearms and ammunition and creating a sales tax exemption on gun locks; adding a new section to chapter 82.08 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 82.12 RCW; adding new sections to chapter 9.41 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 43.70 RCW; creating a new section; prescribing penalties; and providing an effective date.

The bill aims to do the following:

  • 1 cent tax per round of ammunition.  Buy 500 rounds pay an extra 5 dollars in taxes on top of the existing taxes.
  • 25 dollars in tax for every firearm sold at retail, 15 if the firearm includes a gun-lock.
  • An account of every round of ammunition and firearm must be maintained.
  • Creates a firearm-related injury and death prevention account to fund a program through the Department of Health.
  • Basically create a government program much like the NRA’s safety programs.

So overall they want to tax us more because the government is going to somehow do something that the private sector already does.  Last I checked, people were funneling money into the NRA in droves, mainly for the legislative reasons currently.  I would think if our legislators were smart they would leave our rights alone so the NRA could focus on safety and youth programs.

Now I mentioned that there were other taxes.  The bill as written just says it will add new sections meaning current taxes will remain in place.  Washington has a use tax which is equivalent to your local sales tax.  So if you buy a firearm off of gun-broker, technically the FFL is supposed to collect a use tax of fair market value at the sale and the 25 dollar fee would be then added to it.

A note on that fee, due to federal law, all new firearms sold must come with a gun lock, so for any new firearm the default fee will be $15.00.

Gun safes however will remain tax exempt in Washington.

Moving forward, we have Federal Excise taxes on firearms that applies up the food chain instead of directly to the consumer.  These rates and affected items are fully defined here.  Here is a small table to give you the outline:

  • Pistols – 10%
  • Revolvers – 10%
  • Other Firearms – 11%
  • Shells and Cartridges – 11%

Remember these are taxes that are applied to the manufacturer or importer.  They are already integrated into the price of your item before you get them. 

So lets look at an example firearm, the Springfield XDm.

Lets say the firearm is sold to the distributor at $490 dollars.  The need to however collect a 10% excise on that so add an additional $49 dollars to the price.  The distributor then marks up 6% to turn a profit making the sale to the retailer $571.34.  Then the retailer to make a profit for himself will give himself some percentage, lets say 6%, making the price to you the consumer: $605.62.  But now under this new law we need to add in the 15 dollar fee, plus the state sales tax.  It isn’t clear which side the fee goes on, but knowing it’s the government sales tax will be the last thing computed.  This makes the final price out the door just for the firearm at a sales tax of 7.8%: $669.03.

Lets break out how much of that goes to the government shall we?

$49.00 in Federal Excise tax.  In the end yes you the consumer does pay for it, don’t be fooled.

$15.00 in the new Fee.

$48.41 in sales tax.

So if you pull all those fees and taxes and recalculate up the chain, (your distributor cost will shift), the actual price without government interference is: $550.57.  But lets go ahead and ad sales tax back in, that’s applied to everything else you buy.  Your total comes out to be: $593.51.

Think about that, you’re paying damn near an extra $80 bucks in taxes and fees on a relatively low priced gun.

But now you need ammunition to go in that gun, two 50 round boxes of 9mm.

Lets from manufacturer sells the ammo at $0.30 a round.  So for a 50 round box it’s $15.00 plus the 11% excise tax.  Bringing the total to $16.65. Then we have distributor and dealer markup bringing the total to $18.71.  But, you need to also pay an extra 50 cents per box for the new fee.  Then add in sales tax, it’s $20.71 per box.  Given it’s two boxes that’s $41.42 in ammo, or $0.41 cents a round.

So what are the cuts for taxes:

Federal Excise: $1.65

New Fee: $0.50

Sales Tax: $1.50

That’s an extra $3.65 per box.  Per round it’s an additional $0.073 per round.

Tell me, why do we keep piling taxes on a right?  Is it to try and cause people to not want to exercise it due to financial burden? 

This bill needs to get shut down.  It is nothing more than an additional burden on gun owners and for what?  A government run program which will be an unsuccessful knock off of a program many of us already fund through the NRA.  Thanks but no thanks.  I’d rather just keep sending that money to the NRA to help support gun safety and gun rights.  It’s an additional unnecessary burden veiled as doing something good.

If our representatives really want to improve safety, they would write legislation to encourage, not mandate, things like Eddie the Eagle in schools along with other programs to teach children how to safely and responsibly handle firearms.  The wouldn’t threaten our rights allowing us  to focus funds and effort on safety programs.

Now, yes you should contact your state representatives about this bill.  While doing so, also encourage them to support this bill.

AN ACT Relating to adopting the Washington state firearms freedom act of 2013 and establishing penalties; amending RCW 43.06.220; adding a new chapter to Title 19 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.

If your representative is one of the sponsors, I have noticed one flaw with this bill, there is not a “Severability Clause”.  This means that if part of the act is struck down as unconstitutional the whole act is struck.  That’s bad.  Call their attention to it and ask them to amend the bill.

Let’s multi-task folks.  If we’re going to have to spend time contacting our legislators fighting against one bill, we might as well call for them to support a different one at the same time.  This will help force our opponents to also actually have to expend resources as bills gain traction.

Currently I’m reading through all 58 bills introduced this year pertaining to “firearms”, as I find more I’ll give a heads up.

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2 Responses to Attempting to Further Tax a Right

  1. BobG says:

    Sounds to me like it has two purposes:

    1. Make it more expensive for gun owners and harassing them with fees.
    2. Suck more money from citizens by invoking a tax that they think most people won’t protest, only the “evil gun owners”.