Gun Tax Unlikely to Decrease Chicago’s Murder Rate

Chicago set to pass new gun tax

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Cook County, Ill., is expected to pass a new $25 tax on every gun purchase Friday as part of the Chicago area’s efforts to maintain its strong gun-control stance.

“I’m not sure there’s anything we can do at this point except laugh at it,” said Jake McGuigan, the director of state affairs for the National Sports Shooting Foundation. “Looking at it from the beginning, it’s philosophical. It has nothing to do with raising revenue. They just want to go after law-abiding gun owners.”

Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle says the tax will combat gun violence and raise revenue for the county, which includes Chicago.

“It is very important to us to tax guns because we know that guns are the sources of the incredible violence we have in our neighborhoods,” Preckwinkle told a news conference.

Pro-Second Amendment groups argue the tax is simply a way to punish lawful gun owners and will not generate significant revenue or decrease crime.

“Plainly speaking, it is stupid and it will not decrease crime because the only people this tax will impact are the law-abiding,” NRA public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam told the Free Beacon.

The plan originally included both a five-cent bullet tax and $25 tax on every gun purchase, but the bullet tax was taken off the table this week to secure the votes of several commissioners.

The bullet tax was projected to raise $400,000 in revenue, while the gun tax would raise $600,000, Cook County budget director Andrea Gibson told theChicago Tribune.

According to Preckwinkle, the revenue would defray costs of medical care for people who are shot and then treated at Cook County Hospital.

The proposal would also create a $2 million fund to combat gun violence of which an undetermined portion would be granted to “nonprofits with a track record of effective violence prevention and community outreach.”

Some of the funds would also be used to combat illegal gun purchases.

With the bullet tax off the table, the tax is expected to pass the board vote on Friday, much to the consternation of pro-Second Amendment groups.

Illinois, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, is one of the last holdouts for gun-control advocates since a wave of court decisions and laws began expanding Second Amendment rights around the country several years ago. It is the last state in the U.S. where concealed carry is not legal in any circumstance.

The Supreme Court in 2010 struck down Chicago’s handgun ban as unconstitutional, but since then the city has sought other means to deter legal gun ownership.

Chicago has startling amounts of gun violence despite its still-strict gun regulations. Two weekends ago, five people were killed and 24 wounded by gun violence in Chicago.

So far this year, 435 Chicago residents have been killed by gun violence, matching 2011’s total with two months remaining in 2012.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners did not return requests for comment.

CJ Ciaramella   Email CJ | Full Bio | RSS
CJ Ciaramella is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, he was a reporter for the Daily Caller. He was also a Collegiate Network year-long fellow at the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written articles for the Weekly Standard and Oregon Quarterly. Ciaramella attended the University of Oregon, where he edited the award-winning student magazine, the Oregon Commentator. He lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @cjciaramella. His email address is ciaramella@freebeacon.com.