A crowd of gun rights supporters gathered in the state Capitol to oppose the proposed 35% in ammunition tax in Connecticut. Opponents of the bill indicated that the bill unfairly targets them as well as infringes on their Second Amendment rights. Apart from the crowd that packed the room, over 20,000 residents have written to the committee members requesting them to vote against the bill.
Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, introduced House Bill 5040 that seeks to impose a 35% Excise Tax on ammunition purchases for both in-store and online purchases of ammunition. The bill exempts law enforcement, military personnel, and correctional officers. According to the bill supporters, the revenues collected would fund various anti-gun violence activities in the state.
Opponents of the bill indicate that the bill would hurt small business owners, such as gun shops, safety classes, as well as shooting ranges. According to Sen. Heather Somers, R-Stonington, the bill would also hurt the poor rural communities who rely on hunting as a source of livelihood, as well as those living far away from police departments.
Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria, R-Derby, said the high tax was a punishment to legal gun owners. She noted that real solutions to gun violence would involve tackling the mental health crisis. Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, said that there were better ways of addressing gun violence, such as funding law enforcement instead of taxing residents and giving the funds to political gun control groups such as Moms Demand Action.
Gilchrest admitted that there was no other product that had similarly high taxes as the proposed ammunition tax. However, she said that the 35% excise tax was just the starting point and that she was open to negotiations. The Democratic legislator had introduced a similar bill that proposed a 50% tax on ammunition, which failed in the Financial Committee. Apart from New Jersey, which is considering similar legislation, the bill would be one of a kind if it succeeded in becoming law.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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