California Rejects Tax on Ammunition for Third TimeMichael B. Marois
California lawmakers turned down a proposed tax on ammunition for the third time in a decade, while keeping alive a bill to require that buyers undergo background checks.
The decisions were made by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, determining which legislation would advance to a floor vote. More than 300 bills were considered today.
The proposals were among a set of gun-control measures introduced in the wake of the Dec. 14 Connecticut school shooting that killed 20 children and six educators. California’s firearms laws are already among the most restrictive in the U.S.
Lawmakers in New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland passed laws limiting firearms ownership after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Congress failed to pass new restrictions, despite overwhelming popular support.
California lawmakers have rejected ammunition taxes twice in the last decade before shelving the proposed 10 percent tax today. Opponents say that if buyers are held responsible for the actions of a small number of mentally disturbed people, then all other products that can be lethally used, such as gasoline and knives, should be similarly taxed.
California passed the nation’s first assault-weapon ban in 1989 after a gunman with an AK-47 sprayed an elementary school in Stockton, killing five children and wounding 29. A federal ban passed in 1994 has since expired and efforts to restore it have so far stalled in Congress.
Another of the most deadly mass shootings in the U.S. occurred in California in 1984, when a gunman killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Diego.