A so-called “violence tax” on firearms and ammunition could be headed to the Chicago area, courtesy of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, adding such a tax to gun sales is move by the local government to control the number of weapons that find their way onto the city streets. However, a National Rifle Association lobbyist believes there’s something more sinister at work.
“This is just another example of the blame game — Chicago and Cook County has a gun violence problem, Chicago’s got a high high school drop-out rate, they’ve got a drug problem, they’ve got a gang problem, but they want to make legal gun owners, guys like me, the scapegoat,” Springfield, Illinois NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde explained. As far as he’s concerned, the only thing this tax will do is hurt the poor.
“All you’re doing is jacking up the price of guns and ammunition — for someone who can least afford it,” Vandermyde said. “The problem with something like this is that you’re hurting people who don’t have the ability to get out of Cook County. So if you have someone in Englewood, they have to venture out to DuPage County, to Will County? I don’t think so.”
According to NBC News, the violence tax would essentially make guns and ammo more expensive to purchase. However, Preckwinkle hasn’t said just how much more these items will cost when and if the tax is applied. Regardless of how much more the weapons will run, Kurt Summers, Preckwinkle’s chief of staff, explained that something must be done in order to curb the violence that plagued Chicago over the summer.
A recent report revealed that the big city’s murder rate is up nearly 25 percent, a number that has alarmed officials. What’s more, Cook County Jail is almost at capacity; nearly 9,000 inmates are currently housed at a facility designed to hold 10,000.
In addition to reducing the number of guns on the street, the proposed violence tax would help fill the $115 million hole that currently rests in the city’s budget. Enforcing laws and treating gunshot victims has a price, and it’s reportedly taking its toll on Chicago.
“It impacts law enforcement, both at the city and the county [levels]. It impacts the courtrooms, the public defender and state’s attorney that are in there, the judges that are in there, the clerk of the court that has to sit there, the sheriff’s deputies that are in that courtroom and it impacts the jail — the folks that are sitting there at $143 a day,” Summers explained.
Do you think a violence tax should be applied to the sale of firearms and ammunition?