Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia at a hearing on Capitol Hill in September 2021.
Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia at a hearing on Capitol Hill in September 2021.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • There has been a recent string of mass shootings.

  • The bill is a way to restrict sales of the rifle.

  • It is very likely to fail in an election year.

Scores of adults and children have been killed in a string of mass shootings in the US in the last three weeks.

The recent violence prompted a House Democrat to draft a measure that would severely restrict access to the weapon used by different attackers. A member of the tax-writing Ways and Means panel wants to impose a tax on assault weapons.

It's intended to give another way to make sensible gun control happen. A 1,000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restriction that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation.

Depending on location, the new guns range from $500 to $2,000. It would be out of reach for many young Americans to buy a weapon with a 1000% tax on it.

When the tax would kick in and what to do with any revenue raised are some of the details that are not finalized.

The tax wouldn't apply to law enforcement agencies and the military. The legislation wouldn't apply to the 20 million rifles already in circulation across the US. Other guns that are not assault weapons would be exempt. High-capacity magazines that carry more than 10 rounds would be aggressively taxed.

The definition of an assault weapon in the bill is very similar to the one being pushed by Cicilline. The bill would prohibit weapons with military characteristics.

Senate negotiations on a narrower bill centered on mental health, red flag laws, and a modest expansion of background checks are separate from the House Democrats' expansive gun control package. Due to stiff GOP resistance, the House bill is expected to fall flat.

The legislative tactic of eye reconciliation was used by Democrats in order to push through the Build Back Better bill over Republican opposition. Democrats hope to revive a small spending bill by the end of the summer.

The director of the economic program at the Third Way think tank said that taxes get more deference in budget reconciliation than other policies.

A pure excise tax that isn't set so high as to end all sales should pass the rule governing what qualifies to be included in a bill.

The federal government imposes a 10% tax on handguns. There is a tax rate for other guns and bullets.

He was willing to negotiate a tax rate of 1000%. There is no magic about that number. It is severe enough to make sales difficult or impossible. It isn't seen as an absolute ban.

In the past, Democrats have sought to raise taxes on guns and accessories to make them more expensive. According to The New York Times, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wanted to tax handgun bullets out of existence in order to curb crime.

In 2020 a pair of Democrats introduced measures to raise taxes on weapons to prevent gun violence. Both Rep. Hank Johnson and Sen. Elizabeth Warren want to triple the tax on handguns to 30%.

The plan faces a steep climb even though it went nowhere in congress. Democrats will be wary of being portrayed as tax-and-spend liberals by Republicans in an election year where they already face major challenges to keep control of Congress. Biden pledged not to raise taxes on people earning under $400,000.

There isn't much research on whether hiking taxes can prevent crime. The path has been used by states and cities to raise funds.

A senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center told Insider that they don't have a lot of information on what would happen if gun taxes are raised. I don't think a gun tax of 1,000% would deter people from buying a taxed firearm.

Business Insider has an article on it.