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New tax on ammo pushed by Democrat lawmakers

Linked ammunition for a GAU-2 7.62 mm minigun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)
January 30, 2024

A new bill proposed by Washington state Democrats targeting “gun violence” would impose an additional 11% sales and use tax on ammunition if it is passed.

The legislation, House Bill 2230, was proposed by State Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle) and My-Linh Thai (D-Bellevue) and is similar to other ammunition tax bills that have been supported by other Democrat-controlled states.

According to The Center Square, the 11% sales and use tax on ammunition would be in addition to the federal, state, and local taxes that are already included in the sale of ammunition in Washington. However, the 11% sales tax would not be applicable to state, local, or tribal governments for the use of law enforcement.

Democrat lawmakers have cited public safety as the reasoning behind Washington’s proposed legislation.

“Gun violence remains a persistent health and safety threat for people across our state,” the proposed bill states. “In Washington, a person is killed by a firearm every 14 hours and nearly half of all suicides are from firearms.”

The Center Square reported that House Bill 2230 is similar to California’s Assembly Bill 24, which was passed by Democrat lawmakers and signed by Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom. California’s bill, which will take effect on July 1, 2024, imposes an additional 11% tax on both firearms and ammunition.

READ MORE: 49% of Democrats support banning guns, poll shows

According to The Center Square, revenue generated from the proposed sales tax would be used for suicide prevention programs and programs aimed at reducing domestic violence.

While the proposed legislation follows trends by Democrat lawmakers in other states, Second Amendment supporters have expressed concerns regarding the wording of House Bill 2230, which states, “A use tax is levied on every person in this state for the privilege of using ammunition as a consumer at the rate of 11% of the selling price.”

Dave Workman, the communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has expressed doubts regarding the constitutionality of the proposed legislation due to rights granted to Americans under the U.S. Constitution. Workman specifically questioned the state’s use of the word “privilege” to describe the purchase of ammunition.

“The idea that the Democrat sponsors consider purchasing ammunition a ‘privilege’ doesn’t surprise me at all, since they seem to consider the *right* to keep and bear arms a privilege on its own. They’re trying to create the impression through clever wording,” Workman said. “Should it pass, I expect it to be immediately challenged in court.”