Chicago, in America's heartland of the mid-west, is one of the largest cities in the nation and its gun owners are headed for some heartburn. If legislators get their way, both firearms and ammunition could be the target of a special new tax.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is scrambling to come up with a $3 Billion (with a B) budget. The county and its cities have been struggling with poor tax revenues and a ballooning public expenditure. To erase a $115 million budget shortfall, Preckwinkle is targeting golfers, picnic attendees, smokers and others.
The 'others' are Chicago area gunowners. Hidden in the budget proposal is a levy on those who would buy firearms or ammunition. Reports state Preckwinkle wants to add a $0.05 per bullet ammunition tax, and $25 tax on guns.
What this could mean for ammunition buyers is that a 50-round box of 9mm Luger will be another $2.50, besides local sales taxes. This could be disastrous to rim fire shooters as the ever-affordable .22 could see a mandated increase of astronomical proportions. For instance, a 550-round box of Federal bulk pack .22LR sells for around $10. However, with the nickel-per-round tax, that same box will have $27.50 in additional fees on it, an increase of nearly 300%. Even if rimfire rounds are excluded, you can expect the same tax on a 500-round case of .223. This can be seen as adding 30% to the cost of popular import brands such as Tula and Wolf.
Taxing economy guns out of reach
Cook County doesn't seem like a lot, it may be for some gun owners. For those working a minimum wage job, a $100 Hi-Point pistol, Marlin 22, or H&R shotgun takes about 20 hours of work to save for. That's a half week of your life dedicated to buying an inexpensive but adequate firearm. If another $25 is added atop this, that's longer to save, longer to go without. In today's economy, $25 can mean a sacrifice. For want of that extra $25, a home may have to go undefended in a city with a rising crime problem.
Long seen as a blue island in a red region, Chicago has had left-leaning politics for generations. Let us hope that this budget and its hidden fees never make it to public law.
Moreover, if they do, that they never make it further than Cook County