June 10, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Johnson County legislator proposes 5% ‘privilege’ tax on sale of guns and ammo

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Rep. Jerry Stogsdill (D-Prairie Village) introduced a bill in the Kansas legislature that would impose a 5% privilege tax on the sale of guns and ammunition in the state. Law enforcement and the military would be exempt.

HB2635 says revenue from the new tax would be used for mental health services: “There is hereby established the residential mental health treatment fund in the state treasury. The secretary of the Kansas department for aging and disability services shall administer the residential mental health treatment fund. Moneys credited to the residential mental health treatment fund shall only be expended or transferred for providing residential mental health treatment. Expenditures from such fund shall be made in accordance with appropriation acts upon warrants of the director of accounts and reports issued pursuant to vouchers approved by the secretary of the Kansas department for aging and disability services, or the secretary’s designee,” the bill reads.

Mike Relihan, president of the Bullseye Shooting Range and gun shop in Wichita called the bill pandering.

“I don’t see that anything resembling this would pass in Kansas,” Relihan said. “Introducing bills of this type here generally is just a political activity to appease someone’s political base. If it would indeed pass, with the current explosion of e-commerce, a large portion of that business would move online. It appears to be a gutless way to try and drive Kansas sellers of firearms and ammunition out of business.

“Something to remember is the huge amount of money generated nationally every year at the federal level by a tax on all firearms and ammunition that is used specifically for conservation efforts. That money is invested in wildlife habitat preservation and enhancement throughout the country. Those funds would go away if guns and ammunition were no longer sold.”

Stogsdill introduced another bill, HB2636, that would make “possessing, manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, selling, offering for sale, lending, purchasing or giving away any large-capacity ammunition magazine designed for use with a handgun whether the person knows or has reason to know the size of the magazine,” criminal use of a weapon.

What constitutes a “large capacity magazine” is not defined other than, “‘Large capacity ammunition magazine’ means an ammunition feeding device that physically extends below the bottom of the grip of a handgun when fully seated into such handgun.”

Given that most magazines sit flush with the bottom of the grip of a handgun, it’s unclear what magazines this would actually ban.

“The second bill again is political posturing in Kansas. I still don’t know where the limitation on magazine size has ever proven to solve any mass shooting problem,” Relihan said. “With very minimal skills, most shooters could quickly and easily change mags. I never saw the point.”

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