As someone who has a history with hunting and guns I appreciate the fact that people want to use them. However, I think it is ok for people to have guns, but it is the bullets that are the problem. We should tax bullets not only for the hazard they represent to living things, but due to their toxic nature. People have to pay a hazard disposal tax for chemicals, for electronics, for the oil in cars when it is changed. So we should have a tax on bullets.
As someone also who used to reload my casings, it is the bullets that need replacing the most. Bullets should have a tax of 10% to 20% of their value in my estimation, but perhaps that is not enough. How much should bullets cost? It should be based on basic manufacturing and materials, profit, distribution and advertizing, but a tax should address the issue of environmental damage bullets create, not only in the lead and heavy metals added to the ecology that harm animals and poison our land and water, but in the toll on animal life in general. Hunters and inconsiderate gun owners kill animals that really belong to all of us. It is a general resource that they take away from all the rest of the citizens of this country without paying for what they consume or destroy. Real hunters kill animals they use, they dress and care for the skins, bone and flesh. "Holiday hunters" just shoot things and go home. That has to be controlled. Most permit charges are just one-time fees without regard to "takes." (see http://mdc.mo.gov/... for an example) Ohio, like some few other states requires hunters to take a course in hunting (http://www.ohiodnr.com/...), this really is about the variations in game warden checks on takes and other regulations. Many states, for example, Virginia, do not require landowners or renters of land to get permits or report takes (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/...) . One imagines this is due to the belief that the game are all resident to the land so the landowner "owns" them, as if game did not move from place to place but were resident like the humans.
In 2007 the EPA found that there was "massive" contamination at shooting ranges caused by lead bullets (http://www.organicconsumers.org/...). The BBC published an article in August of 2012 on the widespread pollution of streams and ground water from bullets (http://www.organicconsumers.org/...). The National Park Service continues to find lead contamination in rare wildlife caused by bullets (http://www.nps.gov/...).
Guns not the real problem
I do not give a crap what kinds of guns people have, I just think some people should not have any ammo. I have been out doing some real careful hunting only to find a group of strange people with semi-automatic weapons and a couple of cases of beer, shooting trees, rocks and lakes. I do think that some kind of intelligence test should be mandated for people to get ammo. Hunting is one thing, shooting up the place is another.
But taxing ammo is a good start. How much should the tax be, well as I asked above, how much damage is being done to the environment? As someone who grew up on a ranch I often came across people shooting at our livestock for fun. After my uncle and I shot out their tires and the sheriff arrested them, it did not seem so entertaining. But thousands of people like this are killing livestock, wounding animals and going home or just killing for fun and leaving dead carcasses around. The lead bullets, the used casings and the damage to the environment and farmers stock and sense of well being, has to be considered in the cost of ammo. Some of the tax money collected should go to thinning the herd of "hunters" so that only competent people are out there "hunting." Permits have to be given out on the basis of some kind of proof of ability, skill and dedication. Even something as basic as membership in Ducks Unlimited would be a start. Membership in groups like the NRA is voluntary and though the NRA is the single largest certification agency in the country for police, guards and other gun qualifications, I have never seen any evaluation of the courses. Some money should go toward restoring stocks of wild animals and some to farmers for the trauma and costs of hordes of city folk that think shooting is a god-given right.
There are a number of issues one can raise around the issue of gun ownership and gun control. But the argument that people need guns to protect them from their own government is the least of significant. With world governments reducing the military budgets (with the significant exceptions of North Korea and China), it is the private armies of corporations and religious sects that we should worry about. Here in America the arming of private armies should be of concern to lovers of liberty and freedom. The Tea Party should be concerned. But little is said by these people of this threat. And when Rand Paul had the opportunity to kill the Patriot Act he chickened out. So even the Tea Party people want secret big government. But the private threat is growing.
Included in the Wikileaks papers this week are descriptions of efforts by Blackwater to gain contracts with other nations and governments over piracy. This parallels other operations by secret and private armies of former and current military over the world as in the ECA Program attempt to lease a former US airbase in Iceland this August for their private military jet operations.
Long before 9/11 and the Patriot Act plans were underway designed by John Poindexter in his Total Information Awareness program (supposedly scrapped by liberals ) to produce a comprehensive analysis of every American communication (see Shane Harris’ The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State , 2010). Perhaps before Ron Paul and his son Rand can dismantle the agencies we can look to Wikileaks to provide the only real oversight we can have to these spy clubs run amok.
This below is from the website of http://www.mdshooters.com/... The author is giving the results of his survey of ammo costs for different weapons. Perhaps someone can figure out what would be a reasonable tax that might act as a deterrent to "thrill-riding country shooters" as my uncle used to call them, yet not penalize real hunters.
Ammo cost comparison by caliber
There are a lot of other factors to consider, but how much it costs every time you pull the trigger is certainly important.
Why I did this- I was thinking about getting into 7.62x39mm shooting as a cost saving measure over 5.56 or .308, wanted to see if it was significantly less expensive. I was curious how much cheaper .22 Mag was over 5.7; also was interested if the .40 had caught up with 9mm in price. Also, looking around, it seemed 12 gauge was cheaper than .410, this didn't make sense, so I decided to do some online comparisons. These price per round (*estimates) do not include shipping or taxes.
Don't ask how I came up with these 'raw' figures, they will be useful to many especially new shooters; you gun guru's already know the deal.
Cheapest to most expensive (approximation of median price per round), of the calibers I picked to compare, not conclusive, not scientific.
22LR - 4
9mm - 18
22WMR - 20
7.62x39 - 23
17 HMR - 24
5.56 - 25
40 - 28
380 ACP - 30
38 SPL - 30
45ACP - 33
20 Ga. - 35
7.62x51 (.308) - 42
30 Carbine - 43
5.7 FN - 44
357 SIG - 50
10mm - 53
357 MAG - 54
44 MAG - 60
41 MAG - 63
12 Ga. - 70
410 Ga. - 73
30-06 - 75
30-30 - 79
10 Ga. - 90
300 AAC Blackout - 110
458 SOCOM - 250
50 BMG - 275
338 Lapua - 415
Some rounds have a huge range in price from the cheapest commonly available to the most exclusive; here's some examples:
You can find 12 gauge shells from 21 - 320 cents per shell; and 357 SIG ranged from 29 - 181 cents per shell, huge differences. The smallest variances in pricing was for 22 LR (3-6 cents per round), 9mm (16-22 cents per round), 17HMR (20-28 cents per round) and 7.62x39mm (17-25 cents per round). I didn't take into account the absolute cheapest or most expensive rounds (no blanks, no special loads or exotics; just the stuff that most people routinely shoot).