Hartford, CT – A newly-elected state lawmaker proposed legislation that would create a 50 percent tax on ammunition in Connecticut.
“We see this as a public health measure similar to what we’ve done in the state of Connecticut with increasing the tax on cigarettes,” Democratic State Representative Jillian Gilchrest said in a video posted to Twitter on Monday.
“When we increase that tax we’ve seen a reduction in use. And so we want to continue Connecticut’s legacy of being a leader on preventing and addressing gun violence and we see this as another step forward in that direction,” Gilchrest explained.
"Currently, ammunition is taxed at the same rate as other products, but we want to increase it by 50 percent, because we see it as a prevention measure," she said. "For example, if someone were to buy a 50 cartridge box of ammunition, which goes for about $10, it would increase the price to $15."
"I’m hearing push back about the need to protect one's home... but how much ammunition does someone really need to do that?" the lawmaker wrote in the caption of her post.
She didn't address how many bullets gang members need to shoot each other.
Her proposal was met with immediate backlash from gun owners who said that question meant Gilchrest really didn’t understand why people buy ammunition.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun owners said the tax would prevent those who do have guns from properly training with their firearms.
“This dreadful legislation punishes law-abiding citizens and makes it harder to learn how to safely use firearms,” the NRA tweeted.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day of 2018, Democrats in Congress introduced a similar bill that would have put a 50 percent federal tax on ammunition, according to the Hartford Courant.
It went nowhere.
Ammunition is currently taxed at the regular rate of 6.35 percent in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reported.
Gilchrest claimed that members of the military and law enforcement would be exempted from the tax; however, the draft legislation does not actually have those exemptions written into it.
A public hearing has not yet been scheduled on the bill, which was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration, the Hartford Courant reported.
Connecticut is not the first state to consider taxing ammunition.
The Washington Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s tax on ammunition in 2017 because it was created to generate revenue, not discourage the purchase of ammunition, FOX News reported.
Also, the tax is limited to $25 per firearm and about four cents per round of ammunition.
A similar bill was proposed in Illinois last year but it did not gain traction, FOX News reported.
At the time, the Heritage Foundation’s Adam Michel said that the tax would encroach on the Second Amendment and create a dangerous black market for ammunition.