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Huge new tax on guns, ammunition proposed in western state

Examples of some semi-automatic rifles. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
August 28, 2023

California residents may soon be required to pay an 11% tax on guns and ammunition as lawmakers are expected to vote on a new bill that would make it harder for residents to purchase guns and ammunition.

The gun and ammunition tax bill, known as AB 28, was recently cleared by the Senate Public Safety Committee. If passed, California’s proposal would be added to the 10-11% federal tax that is currently set on all firearm and ammunition purchases throughout the country. The money raised by the federal tax is designated for wildlife conservation.

According to The Sacramento Bee, California lawmakers have attempted to implement additional taxes on firearms and ammunition at least six different times over the past decade. The current bill that was recently approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee has been developed by Democrat Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel.

READ MORE: Democrats propose 1,000% tax on guns holding more than 10 rounds

If passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor, AB 28 would implement an 11% excise tax on any firearm and ammunition sales from manufacturers, dealers, and vendors. Advocates of the bill estimate that the tax would generate roughly $159 million in revenue over the course of 2024 and 2025 in order to fund programs for violence prevention.

Gabriel has credited some of the current success of AB 28 to the public’s concern regarding mass shootings, particularly school shootings.

“I think if you talk to a lot of moms and dads out there, irrespective of whether they were Democrats or Republicans, (they) would be concerned about having their kids be safe in school and would want to do more to stop cycles of violence in our communities,” Gabriel stated.

While gun control groups have touted the bill’s current progression through the legislature, gun owners and Second Amendment groups have warned that the 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition could make it difficult for California residents to exercise their right to bear arms by significantly increasing the cost of gun ownership.