A Massachusetts lawmaker has proposed a bill that would almost double the taxes on firearms sales in The Bay State.
Introduced by state Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newtown), SD 1884 would raise the tax on firearms and ammunition to 10 percent, adding an additional 4.75 percent tax to the already existing 6.25 percent tax. The new revenue would go to a grant program for “municipal violence prevention programs.”
Creem’s legislation would also ban .50 caliber firearms, call for the adoption of smart-gun technology, and criminalize private transfers, i.e. require background checks for sales between private citizens.
“I want to make it harder and harder to get guns in and get guns into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Creem told WickedLocal.com reports.
“Some of these are just common-sense thoughts,” she added. “This is not telling people they cannot have a gun. I have great concerns over private gun sales, where we don’t utilize the national instant background check system.”
Rep. Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) expressed concern about the bill and its reception within the gun community.
“I’ve heard from gun owners that are against the bill,” Kafka said. “They feel they are being picked on because they are gun owners.”
Kafka said that the majority of gun owners are conscientious about when it comes to exercising their right to keep and bear arms.
“I can understand their apprehension about the bill as far as doubling their taxes,” Kafka said.
The sentiment was echoed by Jim Wallace, the executive director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) who argued that the bill was unnecessary and misguided, further noting that it will not address the real causes of gun violence.
“Has there ever been a crime committed with a .50-caliber firearm in Massachusetts? What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?” he said. “Is it political, perceived or real? It seems it’s always been political.”
But despite Wallace’s very poignant question, Creem disagrees. “I can’t see a credible reason why a civilian needs that kind of firearm,” she said.
Wallace went on to explain that .50 caliber rifles are popular with long distance sports shooters.
“If it’s the government talking to the citizens, then the government has to come up with substantial reasons to ban anything,” he said. “It’s on them to prove without a shadow of a doubt that these things should not be in the hands of civilians. It’s incumbent on the government to prove its case.”
Wallace is right. The whim and unlettered opinion of a politician is not enough of a reason to infringe on a fundamental right. That includes all of what she is purposing in the legislation, from banning the .50 cal to taxing firearm and ammo sales to high heaven.
Massachusetts residents and other Second Amendment supporters should contact Sen. Creem (see info below) to let her know exactly how they feel about SD 1884.
24 Beacon St.
Boston, MA, 02133