House Democrats are pushing for a vote on legislation that would impose an excise tax on what they consider “assault weapons” and greatly increase the cost of firearms.
According to The Hill, more than two dozen Democrats, including Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, have written a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy demanding the bill be brought to the floor “as soon as possible.” This is not the first time such legislation has been proposed; 38 Democrats put forward similar suggestions in 2022.
An excise tax is placed on manufactured goods at the point of manufacturing, meaning that a firearm with an original cost of $1,000 could end up costing $10,000 before it even reaches retailers.
The definition for what constitutes an assault weapon in this instance includes any semi-automatic rifle or pistol with a fixed magazine capacity of 10 rounds or more and other various features. All guns matching this description would be subject to the imposed excise tax.
The letter provided by House Democrats cites statistics about gun violence in America, claiming that in 2022 alone 1,686 children were killed and 4,485 injured as a result of gun violence.
“We are disappointed that Republican leadership canceled votes in July with so many pressing issues facing our country. Foremost amongst those is the gun violence crisis that is the leading cause of death for children in America,” the Democrats wrote in their letter.
“As Members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, we call on you to schedule votes on gun violence prevention legislation as soon as possible this year,” they added. “We also have a new standing request that should the vote schedule fall apart again, you would fill that time to vote on life-saving gun violence prevention legislation, instead of canceling votes altogether.”
They describe this as “preventable carnage” and accuse Republican leadership of failing to act thus far by refusing to vote on any gun violence prevention bills.
However, studies find that California has had both an “assault weapons” ban and higher rates of firearm-related homicides in 2021 than any other state (17% total).
This raises questions about whether increased restrictions on firearms will actually work or if there are better solutions available for curbing gun violence across America.