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Will a 1000% tax on AR-15s Stop Gun Violence? U.S. Rep. Thinks So

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U.S. Congressman Don Beyer looks to push a 1000% tax measure on "assault-style rifles" through Congress via a rarely-used budgetary tactic.
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    U.S. Rep. Don Beyer proposed a drastic measure to curb so-called gun violence by placing a 1000% excise tax on rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47 — pricing out most Americans from owning one.

    Under the provision, an entry-level AR-15 – like the PA-15 from Palmetto State Armory — priced at $499 would jump to $5,489, not including any state or local taxes or fees.

    “Congress must act to prevent mass shootings,” Beyer wrote on social media. “I’m writing a bill to restrict the flow of weapons of war into American communities – including AR-15s and high capacity magazines – that could bypass the filibuster and pass with just 50 votes in the Senate.”

    Additionally, Beyer said high capacity magazines would also be subject to an aggressive tax.

    MTM AK Mags Box
    High capacity mags would also be targeted with an excise tax.

    The measure looks to circumvent the usual bill approval process by using the budget reconciliation tactic. This method allows provisions to move through the Senate with just a majority vote and no Senate filibuster.

    “What it’s intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen,” Beyer told Business Insider. “We think that a 1000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation.”

    Congressman Don Beyer stands beside March for Our Lives advocates. (Photo: Don Beyer via Facebook)

    President Biden has already used this tactic to enact the $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan in 2021. It was pushed through the Senate with a 50-49 vote with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as a tiebreaker.

    Currently, Democrats hold a majority with some Republicans saying they are open to discussing gun legislation.

    Crimson Trace RAD Max Range Shooting
    The tax would likely price many Americans out of ownership.

    Beyer has not announced when the tax would take effect or where generated revenue would go but law enforcement agencies and the U.S. military would be exempt. The tax would also only apply to “assault-style rifles” — handguns and other long guns used for hunting and recreational purposes would be exempt.

    Consumers look at pistols at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in 2022.

    The U.S. already places a 10% to 11% tax on firearms and ammunition under the Pittman-Robertson Act. Additionally, 45 states and the District of Columbia also impose sales tax on purchases made within their respective states.

    Though Beyer initially quoted a 1000% tax, the Rep said he’s not married to that specific number and would consider negotiating a different percentage.

    “There’s nothing magical about that 1000% number,” Beyer told Business Insider. “It’s severe enough to actually inhibit and restrict sales. But also successful enough that it’s not seen as an absolute ban.”

    Foxtrot Mike FM-15
    Foxtrot Mike FM-15

    The House of Representatives is currently working on a package of gun control provisions that would look to ban AR-style firearms and high capacity magazines, but the measure is expected to fall short of the votes needed to pass the Senate.

    What do you think of the proposed tax? Let us know in the comments below. Want to learn more about the AR-15 platform? Check out our Definitive Resource on the AR-15.

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    19 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Bull o' the Woods

      I don't think it would overly politicize the article to mention Beyer's party affiliation, thus: "Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-08)" or to state that Beyer's congressional district includes Alexandria, Falls Church, and Arlington, VA.

      Taxation to discourage purchases is the same strategy implemented by the National Firearms Act in 1934, when the $200 transfer tax was equivalent to ~$4,600 in today's dollars. That's probably where the $5,000 figure comes from. If you look at the tax from the other direction, the $200 NFA transfer tax today is equivalent to ~$9 in 1934.

      Pretty horrifying how inflation works.

      October 3, 2023 10:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Franz Oberbauer

      The insane tax would only mean that the wealthy would only be able to afford this style firearm. Why is it that the law-abiding citizens are the ones that pay the price for the law breakers? How about we enforce the gun laws we have and hold people accountable for the laws that they break. So, they want to punish 99% of the population for what 1% or less have done. Why is it that states or cities with the strictest gun law have the largest problem with guns? Most likely because they don't enforce the laws that they have. Seems that they change the definitions of what certain firearms qualify as an assault rifle to fit their agenda. They call them weapons of war but to my best recollection the bow and arrow was a weapon of war. Also, Cain did kill Abel with a stone which was also considered a weapon of war at some time in history. They are also too stupid to realize that gun free zones are where majority of mass shooting happen. The reason that they are truly gun free zones is because most sane and mentally well people will follow the rules. I do believe that there should be age limits to purchase what they consider an assault rifle.

      June 18, 2022 8:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This sounds like prohibition in the early 1900s. It worked for a bit then the black market emerged. Do we really want a black market with firearms instead of alcohol?

      June 14, 2022 7:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sam gh

      This won’t stop criminals. Only criminals will have guns then.

      June 13, 2022 6:22 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      J. Bono

      If the tax is explicitly intended to reduce the number of people willing or able to exercise an enumerated right, particularly since it's targeted at the single most popular way of exercising that right, it seems like this would fail for the same reason poll taxes are illegal. Congress has broad powers to tax, but not *universal* powers to do so.

      This proposal seems unserious as actual legislation - but as something intended to convince Rep. Beyer's base that he's Doing Something(tm) about the cause of the week and shore up his position against the electoral reckoning this Fall, it makes perfect sense. Writing wingnut legislation designed specifically to go down in flames, so that the failed proposals' backers can blame the opposition for standing in the way of real action on [issue], is a long-standing tradition in government.

      June 12, 2022 4:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James Durham

      If I use a butter knife to stab someone. I have turned that knife into an assault weapon. If I use my fist to punch someone in the nose my fist is now an assault weapon. Most anything can be an assault weapon if it is used to harm someone. So let’s put a tax on butter knives and fists. People who choose to assault others should be dealt with by law enforcement and the courts strictly. Let’s start enforcing the laws that are already on the books. It’s not the knife or gun or even a rock that causes harm or kills. It is the choices people make. Just Cain deciding to kill Able.

      June 12, 2022 4:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This is for law abiding citizens but it does not talk about the arms acquired illegally... Gun is never a problem it is always the intent of the person who wants to commit an act of violence... Can these law makers assure if this bill is passed then nothing will happen no more shootings and mass killings?

      June 12, 2022 4:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Barry A Bank

      The article does not mention which State Beyer is from but I believe it is the Commonwealth of Virginia. Beyer is representative of the democrats currently in Congress from Virginia and with the reversal of the fortune's of his party he could be retired in the coming election.

      What is of most concern is the Republican Senators and Congressmen who are RINOs and will vote with the democrats to pass anti-2nd Amendment legislation. The Republican Leader? in the Senate, Mitch the Turncoat McConnell, has already thrown in with "Chucky"
      Schumer to pass legislation which sounds harmless but is part of the democrat strategy to get gone what they want little by little.

      It is time to elect a Republican/Conservative majority in both houses and get rid of the RINO's.

      June 12, 2022 12:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      this man had better watch himself...he will be making millions of enemies suddenly...i'm sure there will be some very dangerous ones in there somewhere...many are already at their boiling point...

      June 11, 2022 8:20 am
      • Commenter Avatar


        June 12, 2022 2:49 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          as well as his minions and supporters...

          June 12, 2022 3:24 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      This will solve nothing. Those who really want to hurt and/or kill others will find a way to do it. The problem doesn't lie within the gun, it lies within the hearts of those who wish to kill. I find it ironic that when an LEO is forced to shoot someone people are quick to blame the individual. When a ordinary citizen shoots someone the gun and gun manufacturers are blamed.

      June 11, 2022 6:39 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Now only the rich will be allowed to be mass murderers?

      June 11, 2022 4:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Congressman Beyer is an absolute moron and anyone who agrees with him is equally moronic !
      Criminals don’t care how much you tax
      something ! It’s that simple ! It’s insulting to me and every other responsible American that he would suggest something so absurd !

      June 10, 2022 6:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have a conspiracy theory that this tax is meant to be a nuclear option, a threat to intimidate republican legislators into passing gun control laws, rather than actually implemented. The tax would devastate the civilian gun industry in the short run, but is relatively easy to repeal compared to a law. The question now is who will blink first?

      June 10, 2022 5:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      We need to start actually punishing treason again.

      June 10, 2022 4:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Yep because people looking to commit mass murders can’t have a credit card that they never intend to pay back. Just another way to keep law abiding people from not being able to get their hands on guns.

      June 10, 2022 4:19 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Spot on. Especially as most of these mass shooters intend to commit suicide while taking out others.

        June 10, 2022 5:09 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      he can freak off.....

      June 10, 2022 3:15 pm
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