In a bill that could pass through the House of Representatives without any votes from Republican members, Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., seeks to draft a measure levying a 1,000% excise tax on assault weapons.
“What it’s intended to do,” Beyer told Insider, “is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen. We think that a 1,000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation.”
NBC News reported that depending on location, AR-15s range in price anywhere from $500 to $2000. But a 1,000% tax on the weapon would mean a final sales price of $5,000 to $20,000.
Still, Breyer says that he’s open to negotiating. “There’s nothing magical about that thousand percent number. It’s severe enough to actually inhibit and restrict sales. But also successful enough that it’s not seen as an absolute ban.”
Robert McClelland, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said, “We don’t have a lot of information on what would happen if gun taxes are raised. But a gun tax at 1,000% — I can’t see how it would not dissuade some people from purchasing a taxed firearm.”
Breyer said law enforcement and the U.S. military wouldn’t be subject to the tax. Additionally, the legislation would apply only to future assault weapon sales. Guns used for hunting and other recreational purposes would be exempt if the bill passes.
However, Beyer’s steep tax bill is likely to face staunch pushback from Democrats as they face strong headwinds in the upcoming midterms.