Pascrell and Davis Reintroduce Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act
Landmark legislation would finally raise excise taxes on deadly firearms after 103 years
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07) today reintroduced the Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act, legislation which seeks to combat gun violence through increased federal taxes on guns and ammunition and by closing tax and regulatory loopholes on some of the most popular and deadly firearms.
“Gun violence continues to threaten communities from coast to coast and Congress has a responsibility to stem the crisis,” said Rep. Pascrell, co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus. “After decades of inaction, raising the tax on firearms would provide an offset to the massive cost to society of gun violence – exactly as taxes on alcohol and tobacco have successfully done. At the same time, this legislation will provide critical resources to our badly strapped state and local police forces, community anti-violence programs, and gun violence research. This bill would be a down payment on safeguarding our children, our communities, and our future. It is the type of solution the American people demand.”
“The gun violence crisis in America inflicts epidemic harm on individuals, families, and communities, and the federal government must substantially invest in gun violence prevention,” said Rep. Davis. “Not one penny of current federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition goes to gun violence prevention. Further, the federal gun tax has remained the same for over 100 years, and the ammunition tax is the same as it was during World War II. The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act is an important part of comprehensive gun violence prevention because it creates guaranteed annual funding to stop gun violence via a small increase of 0.5% in existing excise gun and ammunition taxes. This bill also closes a major loophole in tax law that allows many assault-type weapons to evade taxes altogether. This bill is an important step in ensuring federal investment every year to make our communities safer.”
Incredibly, the excise taxes on guns have not changed since Woodrow Wilson was President over 100 years ago and on ammunition since Franklin Roosevelt occupied the White House. Through this legislation, increased federal taxes on guns and ammunition would provide stable revenue to fund enforcement of existing gun laws. Prominent public health researchers advocate this approach, which draws on the success that increased taxes on tobacco have had on decreasing smoking.
The bill will increase the federal excise tax on guns and ammunition by half a percent and apply the federal excise firearms tax to assault-weapon frames and receivers which currently are not taxed if sold separately. The bill directs the estimated $20 to $38 million in new revenue to four programs designed to make communities safer: community-based violence prevention grants; gun violence research; hate crimes prevention and enforcement; and forensic examiner training to improve gun crime clearance rates.
In addition to the tragic human loss, gun violence exacts a tremendous price from our citizens, our governments, and the public health of America. Research shows that firearm injury costs the United States over $557 billion each year, with over $12.6 billion of this loss borne by state, federal and local governments. Given that these numbers only include costs post injury and not costs associated with preventing gun violence such as increased law enforcement and community intervention programs, these figures dramatically underestimate the true cost of gun violence to government.
This legislation is supported by: Brady: United Against Gun Violence; Everytown for Gun Safety; the Major Cities Chiefs Association; Newtown Action Alliance; and the Violence Policy Center.
The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act is sponsored by Reps. Pascrell, Davis, Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Dwight Evans (D-PA-03), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Anthony Brown (D-MD-04), André Carson (D-IN-07), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Katie Porter (D-CA-45), Linda Sánchez (D-CA-38), Terri Sewell (D-AL-07), and Juan Vargas (D-CA-51).
Details on the Act and relevant statistics can be viewed here.