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Saturday, November 7, 2015

NRA NEWS: Illinois: Cook County Board of Commissioners Proposes Tax on Your Constitutional Rights

NRA has learned that a proposal will be introduced on Monday to impose a tax on firearms and ammunition, similar to proposals reported on in the past.

This proposal creates a tax on firearm purchases, and would therefore penalize law-abiding gun owners for exercising their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.  By definition, holders of a valid FOID card are the only persons legally permitted to purchase a firearm in Illinois, and therefore are the only persons subject to this tax – not the criminals responsible for the violence on the streets of Chicago.  Studies by the Bureau of Justice Statistics have shown that less than one percent of state prison inmates who were behind bars for a firearm-related crime obtained their firearms from gun shops. Instead, most obtain guns through theft or black market transactions.

As gun ownership and legal carrying of firearms elsewhere have risen to all-time highs, the nation’s murder rate has fallen to nearly an all-time low, and both the nation’s murder rate and its total violent crime rate have fallen by half in the last 20 years.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cook County politicians continue to blame law-abiding gun owners and legal, licensed dealers, for their failure to respond appropriately to the problems plaguing their community.

As Chicago-area jurisdictions have learned in court, the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental, and any revenue raised by this additional burden on citizens exercising that right is likely to be consumed by costly litigation and attorney’s fees.  Federal and Illinois courts have consistently held that discriminatory taxes on the exercise of fundamental rights are unconstitutional.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a tax on the cost of paper and ink used to produce publications because “[a] power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”  Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Com’r of Revenue, 460 U.S. 575 (1983).  Likewise, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a surcharge on marriage license fees to fund domestic violence programs because people “forced by the tax imposed to alter their marriage plans” would suffer “a serious intrusion into their freedom of choice in an area in which [the court had] held such freedom to be fundamental.”  Boynton v. Kusper, 494 N.E.2d 135 (Ill. 1986).

The Cook County Commissioners are proposing to continue a failed policy of passing illegitimate and ineffective legislation in order to unfairly burden honest citizens and drive lawful businesses out of Cook County.

NRA has not yet learned the specifics of the proposal, but your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you informed as more information is available. 

Please contact the Cook County Board of Commissioners TODAY by clicking here, or calling (312) 443-5500, and let them know you won’t stand attacks on the exercise of a Constitutional right.

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