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Leahy-Schumer-Reid Gun Tax: 8 Facts

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Are you excited? Fresh off a two-week recess, Senators return to Washington tomorrow. Awaiting their return is the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun tax.

President Obama urged Americans to “look at the actual legislation.” We honored the President’s request, and the results are damning. In an effort to cut through the media’s gun-grabbing spin, here are eight things every law-abiding citizen, gun owner, and gun user should know.


1) It’s a tax. The Leahy-Schumer-Reid bill effectively puts a tax on selling, lending, or giving away your firearm. None other than President Obama’s “wingman,” Attorney General Eric Holder, will determine the maximum level of taxation. Heritage explains, “Forcing the individual to pay for the government-mandated service, which is in fact a service to the government [not the individual], is in essence a federal tax on the individual.”

2) Prohibits borrowing of a hunting rifle. Take notice, hunters! As currently drafted, the Leahy-Schumer-Reid bill would criminalize the common act of borrowing a friend’s rifle to go hunting unless you submit to a costly and time-consuming background check. And if you decide to go through the background check to borrow a hunting rifle, you could end up on a national firearm registry.

3) Allows national firearm registry. The loose, ambiguous language in the Leahy-Schumer-Reid bill opens the door to a national firearm registry. The current background check system expressly prohibits the creation of “any system for the registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions or dispositions.” Heritage explains, “the loose language could be construed to allow the Department of Justice itself…to keep centralized records of who received what guns and where, by sale or gift from one individual to another.”

4) Criminalizes pre-range borrowing. Have you borrowed a neighbor’s handgun on the way to the local range? In a Leahy-Schumer-Reid world, you (and your neighbor) would be committing felonies unless the transfer was made AT the range and your neighbor STAYED at the range the entire time you used the gun. Don’t believe President Obama and the media pundits, this bill will fundamentally disrupt and alter the behavior of legal gun owners and users.


5) Criminalizes victims. Sec. 123 of the Leahy-Schumer-Reid bill would turn victims into criminals overnight, literally. If you fail to report a stolen (or lost) gun to “the appropriate local authorities” within 24 hours, you would be in violation of the law, subject to a fine and up to five years in prison. You would also be required to make a similar report to the Attorney General. Sec. 123 “merits ridicule” for criminalizing innocent acts and victims.

6) 80-percent lie. Democrats and some Republicans are making the argument we need the Leahy-Schumer-Reid bill because 80% of criminals “acquired the weapons through a private transfer.” The stat comes from a 1997 government survey, which one Republican Senator used to characterize internet sales. Look deeper into the survey results and you’ll find possession of a firearm during a criminal offense actually increased following the 1993 gun bill. Similarly, the numbers appear to infer the avenues available for illegal purchases will exist even under the Leahy-Schumer-Reid.

7) Helps criminals gets guns. As with many Washington feel-good measures, the unintended consequences mount quickly. This time, the Leahy-Schumer-Reid may actually help those intent on breaking the law pick their targets. Again, Heritage: “the Attorney General must publish an annual list of states that are doing poorly in submitting their criminal records … a handy list for a criminal looking to buy a gun.”


8) 40-percent lie. Gun-grabbers continue to cite the statistic that 40% of those acquiring guns do so without a background check. Based on decades-old data, the stat is grossly exaggerated. Heritage draws this analogy: “[it’s] akin to citing data about current seat belt usage that is derived from a limited sample taken years before a mandatory seat belt law went into effect or before cars were even required to have seat belts.”

All of this begs the question: do your Senators really know what they’re voting for?

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