Baltimore city, and other jurisdictions, were looking to pay for new police body cameras by taxing law-abiding gun-owners. The proposal was voted down Tuesday.
According to this story from wbaltv.com, the city wanted permission to ask the state of Maryland to establish a special sales tax on handgun and ammunition sales, with the money going to the body camera program.
“The revenue from that tax would go directly for paying for body cameras in Baltimore and frankly across the state and other jurisdictions,” said City Councilman Carl Stokes, who sponsored the resolution. Stokes is currently running for mayor. h
After much discussion, only one council member voted in the affirmative, with one abstaining, and the other three voting no, the story says.
Councilman Jim Kraft told WBAL that he supported the resolution because “he thought it was worth looking into, but he is not surprised that it did not go any further because he did not think the city had the authority to act.”
Councilman Bill Henry said he still plans to sell the idea of a special sales tax on guns and ammunition to lawmakers, the story says.
The efforts of the Baltimore City Council to tax law-abiding gun owners for crime-related programs is not an original one.
Recently, two members of the City Council in Los Angeles, California proposed a tax on gun and ammunition sales to fund anti gun-violence programs.
It mirrored a recently approved tax in Seattle on firearms and ammunition that will likely drive most gun shops out of the city. The tax, commonly called “the gun violence tax,” will collect a $25 tax from gun shops on every firearm sold, as well as $0.02 on every round of .22 ammo, and $0.05 on every round of every other caliber.
Seattle’s new tax goes into effect in January, but in August, the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming it violated a Washington state law that prevents local municipalities from creating their own firearms regulations. The city says the tax isn’t a regulation.
In October, the plaintiffs in that suit asked the presiding judge to throw out the city’s attempt at backdoor gun control, saying that Washington state firearms preemption laws are clear and settled, according to this story from freebeacon.com.
From the story: “Lawyers representing the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and local gun owners filed the motion for summary judgement with King County Superior Court on Friday. By filing the motion, the plaintiffs are arguing that the facts of the case are settled and the court should issue its decision.”