California Editorial Rdp – The News Tribune

Dec. 5

Los Angeles Times on considering a tax on California gun sales:

The social costs of gun ownership in the U.S. have reached staggering levels, though given the lack of reliable data collection the public is left to sift through conflicting estimates of the numbers of firearms Americans actually own.

One survey-based estimate places the number at 265 million guns and another suggests 393 million guns; the larger number, if accurate, would account for nearly half of the civilian-owned guns in the world. According to a Johns Hopkins University study, U.S. emergency room and in-patient medical visits for gunshot wounds alone cost about $2.8 billion a year; it’s $45 billion if you count lost wages. Mother Jones magazine estimated the annual total costs from gun violence, including medical, law enforcement, trials and other costs, at $229 billion.

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A few local governments have tried to find a way to make all those gun owners pay a little more toward those associated costs through taxes on guns and ammunition. Levies of $25 per gun sale and up to a nickel per round of ammunition are in effect in Seattle and Cook County, Illinois. Similar efforts to establish a California tax on guns and ammunition have cropped up in the past, and Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) on Monday introduced AB 18 to establish a tax — at an unspecified rate — on handguns and semi-automatic rifles sold in the state, one that might expand to include a tax on ammunition. Making gun owners shoulder a little more of the cost of gun violence is an interesting idea worthy of consideration, though the

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