Politics

New York Congresswoman Introduces Bill Taxing Guns

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
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There were 310 million guns in the United States in 2009, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report. That same year, there were 307 million people living in the U.S., according to a Population Reference Bureau report.

The sheer number of firearms has helped Democratic Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York craft a new piece of legislation that would impose a $100 federal tax on gun sales, Forbes reports. It would also require that stolen guns be reported and establish a federal database for missing firearms.

The bill, “Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act of 2015,” is “aimed at reducing the number of guns in circulation, bolstering anti-violence and mental health programs and addressing the issue of lost and stolen firearms,” according to the congresswoman's website.

"If making guns more expensive means fewer end up in commerce, I'm happy with that result," Velazquez said. "However, if guns are going to be sold, then those purchasing and selling them should pay for programs that can reduce the incidence of gun violence in our local communities.”

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The proposal is similar to the “gun violence tax” approved by the city of Seattle earlier in 2015, which added a $25 tax to the sale of every gun as well as a small fee for ammunition, Forbes reports. However, several gun rights groups have sued the city, saying the tax is illegal.

The bill has been endorsed by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, according to Velazquez's website.

“We, in Brooklyn, are aggressively prosecuting gun traffickers and have taken hundreds of firearms, including assault weapons, off the streets in the course of several investigations with the NYPD,” he said. "But we need to attack this problem on multiple fronts to stop guns from getting into the hands of criminals who use them to shoot innocent people and kill our police officers.

“Congresswoman Velazquez’s proposed legislation respects the rights of lawful gun owners and gun dealers while seeking to prevent the senseless gun violence, bloodshed and carnage that’s occurring every day in communities all across our country due to the easy access to guns and that’s why I support it.”

Sources: Forbes, Population Reference BureauCongresswoman Nydia Velazquez / Photo credit: M&R Glasgow/Flickr