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A gun buyback in December, which netted hundreds of firearms
That poor black rifle!
Over the past few weeks I've mentioned a series of proposals, coming out of The Journal of the American Medical Association -- ideas from doctors who have studied past health crises and seek to apply the lessons learned to the current public health epidemic of gun violence. Among these successful ideas (here is that handy table of them again) from recent history: tobacco taxation, to better represent the societal cost and to fund prevention efforts.

Now, I'm pleased to read about bills coming up in some states, and in the federal House of Representatives, to apply this lesson to gun violence and tax guns and ammunition. And in the process, it seems I have some work to do, and could use some help...convincing my own representative in Congress, Ron Barber, to sign on.

Anyway, apologies for the double entendre, but I know full well any mention of taxes will leave tea partiers boiling mad...

So, here's the news from the LA Times.

Tax 'em.
In Congress, a group of Democrats, led by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez of Lakewood, is pushing for an additional 10% tax on handgun purchases that could generate tens of millions of dollars nationwide to fund gun buybacks, firearms safety campaigns and anti-violence programs.

Legislation that would impose taxes on guns or bullets has also been introduced in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey and Washington state. In Sacramento, a bill by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson would impose a nickel tax on every bullet sold in California to pay for screening and treating young children for mental illness.

In LA, they've bought back thousands of guns, including 75 assault weapons. And funding gun buybacks and other programs to curb gun violence should sound better than more deficit spending. Of course, we do have to factor in the current capabilities of House leadership to pass any legislation, much less -- horrors! -- tax increases. I have to admit, this made me laugh. Not out of despair for the legislation (although it probably is doomed), but the commentary on Republicans in Congress.

    1% chance of getting past committee.
    0% chance of being enacted.

    Only 11% of House bills made it past committee and only 3% were enacted in 2011–2013. [show factors | methodology]

I remember not too long ago, when Nancy Pelosi made the Senate look bad in terms of bills passed. Now the House is the one in need of a legislative laxative. Legislation in the states, of course, stands a better chance of being passed than in John Boehner's incompetent House. Nevada is not the first place that comes to mind for progressive bills, tax increases and especially anything irksome to gun enthusiasts, but they could pass a bill to tax guns and ammo to fund mental health programs, and to help victims of crime. In New Jersey, they're looking to fund safety improvements in schools with a tax on guns and ammo.

And, I did not know this, but frantic assault weapon hoarders are inadvertently funding wildlife conservation. Isn't that great?

Yay, wildlife conservation
Currently, gun and ammunition manufacturers pay a federal tax — often passed on to buyers — that is projected to generate about $500 million this year for wildlife conservation programs under a 1937 law. The amount is expected to increase as a result of a marked rise in sales prompted by fears of new firearm restrictions.
Might make up ever so slightly for the Democratically controlled Congress, in 2009, passing a bill to guns in national parks. Yes, back when Obama and the Democratic Congress tried so hard to court gun enthusiasts, and got campaigned against by the NRA anyway.

Of course, now that the tax has been mentioned in the news, I suppose the NRA will start campaigning against that, too. Any time now.

Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) official portrait
Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ)
Anyway, having looked up the legislation in the House, I see 23 Democrats, including my former rep, Raúl Grijalva, are cosponsors. Unfortunately my current rep, Ron Barber, is not on that list. So if any Baja Kossacks happen by and want to nag Mr. Barber along with me, I'll be much obliged. And if anyone else feels like calling his office, here's the Washington DC info. And for that matter, any suggestions on other liberal House reps to contact would be welcome. There's a whole Congressional Progressive Caucus out there; maybe they should all be on the list of cosponsors.

Even if this bill has no chance in Congress this year, it deserves the support of liberals interested in reducing gun violence. Progress includes getting this idea out in front of the public and building its popularity. It also includes supporting Democrats in the states, if you happen to live in any of the states mentioned in the LA Times, and supporting their legislation, which almost certainly has a better prognosis than anything at the federal level.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting. (6+ / 0-)

    Sounds like a great reason to buy used.

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 01:23:01 PM PDT

  •  Raúl Grijalva is a progressive we can always (4+ / 0-)

    count on for quality legislation that betters the country.

  •  I am willing to bet that data would show (10+ / 0-)

    that the preponderance of gun violence is not committed by people who have obtained guns through normal legal process.  Consequently, this proposal, which seeks to penalize people who do go through process misses the proverbial mark.  Yet is typical of the stereotypical anti-gun view that claims that lawful gun owners are criminals who just haven't gone berserk, yet.  

    •  Society is paying the price (4+ / 0-)

      for your freedom, whether you are law-abiding or not. If you think you can make legislation work that would extract all the societal costs of gun violence from criminals, go ahead and try. I doubt any law-abiding folks would mind...if you could get it to work.

      We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence. Now it's time to demand a vote.

      by tytalus on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:11:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  is that the 'that won't work' argument again? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Free Jazz at High Noon

        no overreach, no poison pill amendments, no politics (ya right), keep it simple:
        pass the background check bill,
        fund it,
        make that work for a dam good start.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 03:01:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Society is paying the price for your freedom" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patrick Costighan, Utahrd, FrankRose

        Right there, in that very statement lies the fundamental disconnect that represents the very cause of the disagreement that has raged here at DKos.

        For YOUR freedom.  In those three short words, you attempt to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who dare to exercise an inherent right that has been upheld by this nations highest documents and characterizes the principles upon which it was founded.

        I say attempt because these very words belie the situation and fail to capture the essence of the problem: that those who commit violence against another, with a gun or without, for an ill purpose are not exercising rights, they are not exhibiting freedom.  On the contrary these individuals are the exhibit the very antithesis of the concept of freedom.  They are called criminals.

        I honestly feel sorry for you, for your inability to see and understand this intuitive and fundamental concept and that you have become so blinded by rage and become so misguided in your pursuit that you, like these criminals, would deny people their freedom to further your interests.

        •  Ah, I see you'd rather insult me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          than admit that you can't solve this problem by punishing criminals as you suggested above. It's a pity that you can't inspire the unguided rage that you wish was there, but you lack the capacity.  :)

          This isn't about you exercising your right. This is about your desire to get off scot-free while society suffers for it. That's the freedom that gun enthusiasts are fighting for under the pretense of being respectful and law-abiding. Of course they can abide by the law; the NRA fights to make sure no laws apply. And if any future laws should apply, plenty of them have made clear their intent to not comply. That was the chant they used in Albany.

          We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence. Now it's time to demand a vote.

          by tytalus on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:27:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            noway2, FrankRose

            While punishing criminals is part of the solution, noway2 in no way (hmmm, yeah) suggested you prosecute your way to dramatically reduced gun violence.

            Let's talk about your responsibility in all of this.  You've pushed an agenda that has disarmed millions of people and left them at the mercy of society's worse.  You've promised them security and failed to deliver.  You've promised them redress and failed to deliver.  You let them die year after year after year, but you can't bring yourself to compromise with gun owners because...well...reducing gun violence isn't your overriding objective.  I fully admit that preserving gun rights is one of my concerns, because I firmly believe that gun ownership is the last line of defense against violence.  Your ulterior motive, however, is to hold gun owners in contempt: a group you fear and consistently spit on.  Your no Greg Dworkin.  Your not even Meteor Blades.  If you can't win without eradicating "the gun culture" you don't particularly care.  That's real ugly man, and it shows in everything you write.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:09:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm just tired (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus, Over the Edge

          of making them much more efficient criminals through technology.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 05:28:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            noway2, FrankRose

            Much more efficient?  Repeating firearms have been around for a century and more and haven't changed much.  Since the M1911 was introduced, our every day lives have been permeated by regular air travel, mass transit, the automobile, intermodal freight, and telecommunications.  You can move billions of dollars around the world in under a second.  You can place a call to anyone anywhere from anywhere with a disposable phone.  

            Today's criminals aren't more efficient because of the firepower they carry, they're more efficient because of damn near everything else we enjoy in modern life.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:14:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nice try (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Get back to me when someone shoots up a kindergarten using intermodal freight or mass transit.

              I suppose with enough effort you could re-route the subway tracks into the classroom but that sounds rather labor intensive.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:26:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

                No, they just smuggle tons of drugs in and tons of guns out of the country on our buses, ships, trains, and planes.  They take advantage of every convenience to fuel violence in our streets, our schools and our homes.  Or does it only count when victims are white, middle to upper class residents of a good neighborhood?  Must be, since that's what's finally spurred the newly outraged to action.

                When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:33:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My sole point (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is that modern firearms are highly effective killing tools.

                  They make it easy to kill large numbers, at range, with minimal effort with the added benefit of being easily portable.

                  If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                  by Major Kong on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:42:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    KVoimakas, FrankRose

                    And my sole point is that modern firearms are older than you or me, and older than my dead grandparents in fact.  

                    I'll grant you that firearms are highly effective killing tools.  That's why they exist.  But you're a century too late if you're trying to but the genie back in that bottle.  

                    When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                    by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:46:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We've had very strict regulations (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      on fully automatic weapons since 1934 and nobody's shot up a bank with a Thompson or a BAR in as long as anyone can remember.

                      Fully automatics have been around almost as long as semi automatics and we've had no trouble controlling them.

                      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                      by Major Kong on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:53:44 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Society is paying the price for my freedom because you say it is?  Or did you just stop mid sentence?

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:01:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Funny framing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ATF officials say that only about 8% of the nation's 124,000 retail gun dealers sell the majority of handguns that are used in crimes. They conclude that these licensed retailers are part of a block of rogue entrepreneurs tempted by the big profits of gun trafficking. Cracking down on these dealers continues to be a priority for the ATF. What's needed, according to Wachtel, is better monitoring of the activities of legally licensed gun dealers. This means examining FFL paperwork to see where their guns are coming from, and making sure that those guns are being sold legally. But he says, "Let's be honest. If someone wants a gun, it's obvious the person will not have difficulty buying a gun, either legally or through the extensive United States black market."
      By defining that the normal legal process you get to discount that the current legal process makes it very easy to buy something "legally" and then push it into the illegal market.  Most handguns used in crime come through the 'legal process,' but because they are then pushed through a straw purchaser or "disappear" from the FFL or other such contrivance, it's defined as not being through the legal process.

      The point of most reforms such as universal background checks, requiring the loss or theft of a firearm for everyone as FFL are currently required to do, to keep records for years, or a registry, are specifically designed to make it harder for these kinds of schemes to work.  In some states a person doesn't have to show an ID to buy a gun from a non-FFL seller and there is no way to trace how the sale happened.  Fix that and you make the "legal process" actually effective in making sure people cannot game the system.  It won't fix the entire problem, but reducing the supply on the black market that has been developed and encouraged by current law will start reducing the supply of weapons available to criminals.  

  •  I think legislation could be better (4+ / 0-)

    if the monies were directed toward national healthcare costs and a national media campaign promoting the healthcare risks of owning a gun, the damage they do to our society, and how people are turned off by them much like tobbacco along with gun buy back programs. mix the long term with short term investment.
     with that said Diarist is doing outstanding work on educating, promoting and pushing for a better, less gun violent society for all.

  •  Thank you tytalus for keeping our eyes on the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, Glen The Plumber, shopkeeper


    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:15:09 PM PDT

  •  I support the constitution. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Taxes levied on rights are unconstitutional unless de minimis and can be waived for the poor.

    I would support a constitutional amendment to permit this sort of stuff, though.

  •  Sportsmen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick Costighan, Utahrd, FrankRose

    have been paying the cost of wildlife management and conservation for decades through taxes and fees on guns and hunting licenses, a practice that enjoys wide support among those same sportsmen.

    I'm curious... can you point to any problems caused by allowing guns in national parks, subject to compliance with state law?

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:10:01 PM PDT

  •  After all the tooing and froing re gun control, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe there is a fundamental disconnect you are missing.

    Americans have railed against the Warren Court, the Roberts Court, and increments thereof, but they have in the main complied. Gun Control advocates seem to assume they will similarly comply with new laws restricting the 2nd Amendment.

    I, on the other hand, think such laws will make Prohibition look like child's play. As data points I offer up these posts.:

    Outlaw Gunsmithing 2 – Going Mobile

    Shovel to AK-47

    These links have appeared on mainstream sites. They are not underground. Assuming easy compliance is a mistake.  Law enforcement knows this, which helps explain their relative quiescence.

    I find it ironic that for all the "police state" rhetoric on this site, you ain't seen nothing yet if you try and enforce the most draconian of these proposed laws. For if a latter-day "Sons of Liberty" emerges, what do the gun control advocates have to negate it but the police -- in this context a most uncertain ally.

    •  Oh, I know many will not comply (0+ / 0-)

      In fact there is a user here, still active, who has made things clear to us. The law-abiding patriotic gun owner is something the enthusiasts cling to as a defense. And lots of them really are, it's not just a sham. But they have a fundamentalist problem in their ranks. One way or another it needs to be pulled out at the roots.

      We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence. Now it's time to demand a vote.

      by tytalus on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:20:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  At least some Walmart employees will make money (0+ / 0-)

      Containers that bring Walmart's crap here from prison labor camps can't be inspected.  That would cost Walmart 15 seconds of profits and that's not allowed.

      Once there's a profit margin of several hundred dollars a gun that the Mara Salvatrucha, 18th Street, etc will gladly pay; guns will come here hidden in containers from China.

      At least some Walmart employees will make some money when they receive a couple hundred dollars in cash to go on break while some "new temps" unload the container.

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