(ZH) — If Congress won’t ban AR-15s, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (VA) wants to slap a 1,000% tax on them – which would of course mean only people with lots of money, such as drug dealers and rich people, could afford them while punishing lower-income Americans.
Introduced last week, Beyer’s Assault Weapons Excise Act has 36 Democratic co-sponsors, according to the Washington Post. The group hopes the idea might bypass the Senate filibuster, which would require the support of at least 10 Republicans.
According to Beyer, the idea is to increase the price to such a degree that it significantly limits who’s able to buy them. The tax would also apply to high-capacity magazines.
“It’s trying to hit the sweet spot, where it’s not an all-out ban, but people’s independent purchasing decisions would be much more ‘no’ than ‘yes,’” Beyer told the Post, adding. “You want to shift the demand curve pretty significantly.”
Beyer said part of the thinking behind the 1,000 percent figure was to have a high-enough fiscal impact that the Senate parliamentarian would find it qualifies for inclusion in a reconciliation package, meaning it could pass the Senate with a simple majority. -WaPo
“In a nation crying out for progress on gun safety, we would present a plausible way forward in this Senate,” he said.
The tax would only apply to newly purchased guns, and would not apply to government buyers. The proceeds would go into the general fund.
As the Epoch Times notes, in an attempt to define what would be taxed, the bill says it would apply to “semiautomatic assault weapon[s],” which are semiautomatic rifles that have the capacity to use a magazine that isn’t a fixed magazine, a pistol grip, a forward grip, and a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock. Other items that fall under that definition include a semiautomatic rifle with a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel, and a “functional grenade launcher.”
The excise tax would also apply to “a semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, except for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition,” as well as certain semiautomatic pistols, all belt-fed semiautomatic rifles, shotguns with revolving cylinders, and more.
“Congress must take action to stem the flood of weapons of war into American communities, which have taken a terrible toll in Uvalde, Buffalo, Tulsa, and too many other places,” Beyer said in reference to widely reported mass shootings in recent weeks.
About half of all rifles manufactured in the United States or imported in 2018 were AR-15-style weapons, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation trade group. The group said there are about 20 million of those firearms in circulation as of 2020.