Two weeks ago, AB 1223 – an additional 11% excise tax on the sales price of all sporting arms, firearm parts and ammunition sold in California, as well as an additional excise tax of 10% on the sales price of all handguns –.fell short of the votes needed to pass off the floor.
The bill was amended, adding the “urgency clause” which will allow the bill to be brought back up for another vote. It also allows this bill to be voted on again at any time and if passed and signed into law the bill would go into immediate effect.
Lawful hunters and recreational shooters already pay an 11% excise tax on long guns, ammunition, archery, and other hunting equipment as well as a 10% excise tax on handguns, in addition to sales tax. The federal Wildlife Restoration Act, which is also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, allocates the federal excise tax dollars back to states, including California, to fund beneficial wildlife habitat projects that benefit game and non-game species, hunters and non-hunters alike. AB 1223 would double the excise tax law-abiding hunters and shooters already pay on all firearms and ammunition – effectively raising the total tax rate on these items to nearly 30%.
This bill would unjustifiably place the burden of funding efforts to address illegal gun violence solely on the backs of citizens who legally purchase and lawfully use firearms and ammunition. All Californians benefit from programs, education and research intended to reduce illegal gun violence, and all Californians should help fund their implementation.
AB 1223 would do nothing to reduce criminal use of firearms but would inequitably impact California’s lawful hunters, our wildlife and their habitats, those seeking to exercise their second amendment rights and disproportionately impact communities and Californians that are economically challenged attempting to secure their safety by exercising their second amendment rights.