Ammunition purchasers would need to pay a nickel-a-bullet tax, if a measure in front of California’s Assembly makes it into law.
The bill, from Assembly Democrat Roger Dickinson, would raise an estimated $50 million. AB 760 is one of several measures introduced this year that increase regulation on ammunition purchases. Other bills would require either ammunition sellers or buyers to acquire state permits and screen purchasers through a background check system.
Dickinson said he is not worried that the two dozen gun control bills in front of lawmakers would hurt his legislation’s momentum. “ No –I don’t think it’s in competition,” he said during a Monday morning press conference at a Sacramento elementary school. “This bill in particular is aimed at a different approach. The others are more regulatory, I would say, in terms of whether it’s registering if you’re buying ammunition, or limiting the size of magazines.”
Dickinson did admit, though, that he’s hoping a tax would decrease ammunition purchases. “There’s some price sensitivity, as there was in cigarettes, for example, when we imposed a tax on tobacco,” he said.
The National Rifle Association is opposing the measure.
The ammunition tax revenue would fund a program that identifies and treats mental health problems in elementary school students. “It aims at our very young children, in grades one to three, and helps them with diagnosis and then subsequent treatment,” said Dickinson. Last year’s state budget eliminated funding for the Early Mental Health Initiative, which California’s Department of Health Care Services said treated more than 15,000 students.
Because Dickinson’s bill increases taxes, it would require support from two-thirds of both the Assembly and the Senate.