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California Democrat’s Bill Proposes Nickel-A-Bullet Tax

| April 15, 2013
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Ammunition purchasers would need to pay a nickel-a-bullet tax, if a measure in front of California’s Assembly makes it into law.

Assembly Democrat Roger Dickinson discusses his proposed ammunition tax at a Sacramento elementary school

Assembly Democrat Roger Dickinson discusses his proposed ammunition tax at a Sacramento elementary school.

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.

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About the Author ()

Sacramento bureau chief Scott Detrow covers state government, politics and policy for KQED News and its statewide news program, The California Report. Before joining KQED, Scott reported on Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling boom for NPR's StateImpact project. Reach Scott Detrow at sdetrow@kqed.org.
  • facepalm

    THIS IS COMING FROM A STATE THAT HAS TAXED THEMSELVES INTO BANKRUPTCY. WHAT A BUNCH OF IDIOTS. I AM SO ASHAMED BE BE AN AMERICAN THESE DAYS