"Taxation without representation" is a phrase commonly thought to have been first made famous by Boston lawyer James Otis in 1765. It refers to the idea of imposing taxes on people who have no recourse against or control over the taxing authority. As the American colonies grew in the 1760s, it became increasingly apparent that their needs and desires were not being adequately represented in the English Parliament.
When the Americans decided that the taxes paid to England were getting too high, they famously protested by boarding the HMS Dartmouth on December 16, 1773 and dumping 342 chests of darjeeling tea into Boston Harbor. The "Boston Tea Party" was the pinnacle of the Americans' resistance to the Tea Act, a levy imposed on the colonists by the British Parliament earlier that year. The colonists believed the Tea Act was unfair "taxation without representation." Taxation without representation was one of the underlying causes of the American Revolution. The American colonists believed that they should not have been taxed by a government unless they had a political voice in that government.
The introduction of this bill is still in its early stages. You can review the bill here at the CA Legislation website. The basic idea of this bill is to create a "fund" handled by the state Controllers office to combat gun violence. "Gun violence" is a term used quite often in this bill as it relates to the inculcation of fear and nothing more. Still, there are no remarks in the bill as to how these funds will be used to also address the number one factor in most gun violence activities; mental health.
Essentially Federal Firearms Dealers are the root of all evil according to this bill. It mentions some 1200 missing firearms during a period of two years between 2016 and 2018.
"Firearms sold by gun dealers contribute to unacceptably high rates of gun violence in communities across California. Dealers are the leading source of firearms trafficked to illegal markets, often through straw purchases as well as preventable losses or thefts. Data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) indicates that from 2016 to 2018 alone, licensed dealers in California reported losing track of nearly 1,200 firearms from their inventories. The true number of these misplaced firearms, including unreported losses, is likely substantially higher." Fact, sexual assaults are under reported and are likely 3 times higher than what we know. That said, should we impose a tax on lubes used to fund "sexual assault victims fund" that were used in such an act?
How many of the 1200 firearms cited in this bill actually were used in a gun related violent crime? If the author/s of the bill can drill down on 1200 firearms missing, then they should also be able to cite how many of those firearms were used in a crime. As an FFL I am required to notify the ATF when a firearm goes missing; this is a critical requirement. That said, on the notification I must list out the serial numbers as well as other identifying factors. If a criminal gets his hands on one of my "reported missing firearms," his next step would be to remove the serial number,(file it off or mar it) etc. No criminal uses a gun in a crime that is traceable. Additionally, the amount of firearms sold on the dark web are exponentially higher than the mere 1200 guns lost in an FFLs inventory. This is where many bad doers have turned to purchase off market firearms.
In this article the federal LE participated in purchasing firearms (in 2018) legally through FFLs and also on the dark web. The data surmised that purchasing a firearm legally through FFL process from one to other was greatly successful and within the limites of the LAW whereas purchasing on the dark web was a seamless process where no laws were followed. This might indicate the majority of FFLs are in fact operating within the limits of the law.
The Excise Tax
As the bill goes into detail it basically calls for a 25.00 additional fee to be placed on the FFL for the firearm sale transaction to be collected along with the DROS fee of 25.00. The 25.00 excise tax is collected and used to combat gun violence (so says the bill) however we never actually see a full accounting of where the funds are used. In the end, the FFL will likely not "eat the fee" and pass it onto the consumer. Therefore, making your firearm purchase fees 25.00 DROS, 25.00 excise tax, state tax (depending on county you live in), and transfer fee (these also vary depending on the FFL). At the close of the sale the consumer can expect to pay over 100.00 more after all fees and taxes are paid.
There is allot of hyperbole in AB18; take the time to look through it. At first glance to the emotional reader it would appear to make sense to create such a "fund." California is the highest taxation state; the highest in the nation for gasoline as an example. Perhaps realigning the "bullet train funds" which are in the billions (over 5.4 billion at last count) would be a better shift of funds for the new "gun violence victim fund" since Governor Newsome has put a halt to that project. We have not adequately addressed the millions of dollars illegal immigration has cost California tax payers as well as other social programs for those who seek to benefit from free services. Considering California is at a loss in many ways and looked upon as a rogue state, it seems our leadership in Sacramento would do just about anything for votes. The California super majority ensures all legislation gets through without any opposition.
July 2019 Ammo Purchase Changes
As per the bill, "In recent years, gun sales have been booming in California. The California Department of Justice processed between 880,000 and 1.33 million dealer records of sale per year between 2015 and 2017, up from 344,000 to 375,000 from 2005 to 2007, just one decade earlier." There is a reason for the increase in gun sales. California Americans are stocking up because they fear what's coming next. California is the most unfriendly gun ownership state and therefore those who fear having their second amendment infringed are taking action by purchasing firearms legally and stock-piling ammunition. As of July 2019, the ammo background check goes into full effect where buyers are charged yet another fee ($1.00) to process the "background check." This fee is collected by the FFL and forwarded to the Cal DOJ monthly, etc. Where are the funds collected from ammo background checks ending up? Why not use those allocations for the "gun violence" victim fund? All ammunition orders are handled and processed by an FFL who are expected to charge a handling fee/storage fee, etc. The fee from the FFL can range from 10.00 as high as 35.00 (I have seen thus far).
Something to Think About
Keep in mind all leadership in Sacramento have access to weapons to protect themselves either through CCWs or police protective details. As stated by Karmala Harris; she states “I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do — for personal safety." She then makes the connection to the her work as a Prosecutor, etc. A person's job should NOT or EVER be the main reason for having firearms. It is about inherent right of self defense something we all have earned as Americans. Furthermore, the 2nd amendment does not have anything to do with personal safety it has to do with defense against a tyrannical government. Politicians live on hilltops in expensive homes, have walls/cameras around their houses, and their children do not go to the same school ours go to. Additionally, California law makers seek to exempt themselves from the very laws they place on us; although unsuccessful, but nonetheless their attempts should reflect their elitist mentality. Seems as if this behavior extends into Congress, evidence of this can be seen at exemption from Insider Trading Laws and Obamacare, etc.
As California politicians continue to over-reach and infringe on second amendment rights; we continue to allow them to do so if we do not take action. Since we do our best to exercise good judgement and reasonable debate for both sides comments are welcome. Because our Secretary of State does not use a vetting process to ensure votes are legal; we are unsure as to exactly whom is voting for what legitimately. This means take action if you are an American citizen and vote. Read all propositions and legislation to make the best choice. Law makers are great at cloaking the truth and making proposals as difficult as possible to comprehend; we completely dropped the ball on the recent gasoline repeal Proposition 6.
David G. Scalise MSCS, MSPA