Illinois is the only state in the nation that doesn’t “allow” citizens to legally carry a concealed weapon. Yet Chicago, with 401 homicides in 2012 by Oct. 9, has more murders caused by gunfire than any other major metropolitan area in the country.
Rather than restore residents’ Second Amendment right to own a weapon for personal protection — as the city was commanded to do by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010’s McDonald v. Chicago ruling — city politicians want to tax away violence by imposing a levy on all ammunition sold in Cook County.
If adopted, the proposed “violence tax” will assess either a 2-percent tax on ammunition purchases or levy 10 cents on every bullet sold in Cook County.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle believes the proposed “violence tax” is necessary because violent crime is threatening to bankrupt Chicago by crowding the city’s jails and hospitals.
According to city accountants, it costs Chicago $143 a day to jail alleged criminals and $52,000, on average, to treat a gunshot victim who does not have insurance. It costs the city’s police department, on average, $400,000 to investigate a homicide when you add in law enforcement resources and court proceedings.
As a result of the costs associated with escalating violence, there is a projected $115 million deficit in Chicago’s proposed $3 billion 2013 budget.
Preckwinkle maintains Chicago’s violent crime epidemic has nothing to do with violent criminals, but with the accessibility of ammunition in the suburbs. There aren’t any gun shops that sell ammunition in Chicago, but there are about 40 retailers that offer firearms and bullets in the city’s Cook County suburbs.
A report by Chicago Police and the University of Chicago found nearly a third of guns found on Chicago streets, including at crime scenes, were sold at suburban gun shops. Therefore, “violence tax” proponents argue, it is reasonable to ask purchasers of guns and ammunition to help defray these costs.
“Cook County suffers from systemic gun violence,” Preckwinkle said at an Oct. 9 press briefing. “The wide availability of ammunition exacerbates the problem.”
Many people would say Chicago’s refusal to recognize the U.S. Constitution “exacerbates the problem” by ensuring criminals with illegal guns will continue to prey on vulnerable citizens unconstitutionally disarmed by a city government that has nothing but contempt for the Bill of Rights.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said the tax would punish the wrong people.
“What’s causing the violent crime in Chicago are the drug dealers, the gangs, and if you are going to put a tax on something, why don’t you start taxing the gangs or the drug dealers?” Pearson said. “They are just making law-abiding citizens pay for something that they didn’t do. That’s all this is going to do, and drive business out of Cook County, of course.”
“Chicago and Cook County has a gun violence problem, a high school drop-out rate, a drug problem, a gang problem,” NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde told the Chicago Sun-Times on Oct. 10, ” but they want to make legal gun owners, guys like me, the scapegoat.”
“Law-abiding firearms owners in Cook County should not be shouldering the bills for criminals,” said Alan Gottlieb, Citizens Committee Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Under Preckwinkle’s plan, honest citizens would be financially punished for the bad behavior of a criminal element that appears to be rampant and unchecked, considering the number of shootings and murders that have been tallied.”
Some offered back-handed applause for the “violence tax,” noting how the proposed levy will somehow compel criminals to purchase weapons and ammunition through the legal process rather than illegally on the street.
“Mushbrain (not his real name) won’t be able to kill an 8-year-old on a playground next year,” writes Phil Kadner in The South Town Star on Oct. 9. “That’s because he won’t be able to pay the tax on the bullets he needs to load his gun.”
For more, go to:
Local gun store owner weighs in on Cook County idea to tax guns, ammo
Cook County ‘gun tax’ idea has Bellevue’s CCRKBA fuming
Illinois county considers ‘violence tax’ on guns and ammo
Critics take aim at Preckwinkle bullet tax](http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-10/news/ct-met-cook-county-ammunition-tax-1010-20121010_1_bullet-tax-preckwinkle-county-commissioner-timothy-schneider http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-10/news/ct-met-cook-county-ammunition-tax-1010-20121010_1_bullet-tax-preckwinkle-county-commissioner-timothy-schneider )