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October 12, 2012

Cook County Board President Wants to Tax Guns, Ammo


#gunvote 2012 -- Don't Risk Your RightsFrom the gun control capital of the heartland comes yet another attention-diverting effort intended to appear as if it would deal with the costs of Chicago’s rampant, gang-related violence while helping fill dwindling government coffers. What would it really do? The answer is all too familiar — penalize law-abiding citizens who own firearms.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle this week sent her chief of staff to tell the Chicago Sun Times that “If we were to pursue a tax on something like guns and ammo … and it may not generate $50 million, but …it is consistent with our commitment to pursuing violence reduction in the city and in the county.” With language as imprecise as the logic behind it, the convenient new term is “violence tax” for an idea we’ve seen before in Chicagoland. In this version, it’s a Cook County shakedown. This “violence tax” on the Second Amendment is like taxing the First Amendment protected purchase of books, movies, music and newspapers to pay for the societal ill-effects of pornography or hateful speech.

As a purported answer to meeting the social costs that stem from the abject failure of Chicago’s public schools with its abysmal graduation rate, ongoing gang warfare and widespread drug trafficking, we hear about this proposal to tax legally purchased guns and ammunition sold in neighboring Cook County communities. This revenue-raising proposal will be justified by the recent University of Chicago “Crime Lab” study based on ATF recovered gun trace data provided by the Chicago Police Department in direct contravention of federal law.

Meanwhile, two bills are now before the Illinois legislature that would create a state-wide ammunition tax, sponsored by political chums of Ms. Preckwinkle. Operatives of the well-oiled Chicago political machine have always been of one mind when it comes to gun owners and our Second Amendment rights – they don’t like or respect them. President Obama’s record as an Illinois State Senator shows him to be in sync with this viewpoint, including the idea of ammunition taxes, which he raised at a 1999 political rally that was captured by the Chicago Defender and in which he endorsed other gun control ideas, including one advocated by then Alderwoman Preckwinkle.

From the president’s home city, we have another reason to #gunvote.