At least 25 House Democrats have announced a revival of legislation that would place a 1,000 percent excise tax on the sale of so-called “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines” in another attempt to reduce access to guns, according to Fox News.
Reportedly led by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), the Democrat group is staging a repeat of an effort Beyer mounted in 2022 when he had 36 colleagues backing the same proposal, the story noted.
Last year, the Washington Post noted, “A 1,000 percent excise tax on semiautomatic rifles such as AR-15s would mark a drastic increase from any existing federal excise taxes on firearms — a proposal that Beyer is hoping could bypass the Senate filibuster, which requires support of at least 10 Republicans.”
As noted earlier by AmmoLand News, Democrats are demanding gun control action as Congress is on its annual summer recess. This new effort only reinforces the public impression that Democrats are the party of gun control and even gun prohibition. Owning a modern firearm would be cost-prohibitive.
For example, Fox said a firearm normally costing $500 would suddenly cost $5,000 “to reduce access to guns across the country.” A gun costing $2,000 would have a $20,000 tax.
Right now, Democrats are back home—or at least should be—in their districts. Many members of Congress use the break to make public appearances at community events, county fairs, picnic events and even ride in local parades. Such appearances allow opportunities for gun owners to inquire about gun control and Second Amendment issues.
According to his online biography, Beyer is in his fifth term as the representative for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, which encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and parts of Fairfax County. He serves on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee and on the House Ways and Means Committee. He announced the legislation one day after more than 100 Democrats sent a letter to Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, demanding gun control action.
When Beyer first floated the idea in 2022, the Washington Post reported his intention was to “shift the demand curve pretty significantly” by literally pricing many people out of the market.
Currently, gun buyers pay an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, which goes into the dedicated Pitman-Robertson program, known as the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program, adopted by Congress in 1937. This fund has raised billions of dollars for wildlife projects around the country, providing annual apportionments to state fish and wildlife agencies. While most of the money goes to support wildlife projects, a percentage is also set aside for hunter education and range development projects. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service administers this fund.
The Beyer bill comes at a time when gun control proponents are not doing well in the courts. Gun rights organizations, including the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Gun Owners of America, have been aggressively challenging state and local laws based on a new standard that was set down in last year’s landmark ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
Beyer’s legislation faces a likely grim future, with Republicans in the majority in the House. With Congress in recess, there could be no action at least for a month, until sometime after the Labor Day weekend. Even if this idea were to become law, it would undoubtedly be immediately challenged in court by any or all of the above-named gun rights groups. The proposal would slap a prohibitive tax on the exercise of a constitutionally-protect right.
According to Fox News, the text of Beyer’s bill was not out by the weekend, and a check Monday morning also could not find a reference to the legislation.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.