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Proposal by Connecticut lawmaker to impose 50% tax on ammunition catches NRA’s attention

Someone shooting a pistol at the range. (Max Pixel/Free Use)

A proposal by state Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, to impose a 50 percent tax on firearms ammunition has caught the attention of the National Rifle Association.

“This dreadful legislation punishes law-abiding citizens and makes it harder to learn how to safely use firearms,” the NRA wrote in a tweet Tuesday morning.

In a video posted to her Twitter page, Gilchrest, who is serving her first term in the General Assembly, described the tax as a “prevention measure.” Ammunition in Connecticut is currently taxed at the normal sales tax rate of 6.35 percent.

“We see this as a public health measure similar to what we’ve done in the state of Connecticut with increasing the tax on cigarettes,” Gilchrest said. “When we increase that tax we’ve seen a reduction in use. And so we want to continue Connecticut’s legacy of being a leader on preventing and addressing gun violence and we see this as another step forward in that direction.”

Gilchrest’s bill was referred to the legislature’s finance committee. Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, joined her in introducing the measure. It has not been scheduled for a public hearing.

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Democrats in Congress introduced a bill last year following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. that would impose a 50 percent federal tax on ammunition.

Research by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan think tank which receives a mix of Pentagon and other funding, concluded there was currently “little empirical evidence to indicate how taxation would influence firearm-related outcomes, such as violent crime or suicides” but “given that taxation has been a standard policy lever for other potentially harmful goods (e.g., cigarettes, alcohol, and soda or sugary beverages), we may be able to derive insights from policy changes in these markets.”

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© 2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.