TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2020
In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court famously wrote: “the power to tax involves the power to destroy ….”
This truism has not been lost on firearm prohibitionists, who when unable to ban guns outright have often tried to tax them out of reach of the average citizen.
Earlier this year, Democrat Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey actually did try to exploit panic over the COVID-19 outbreak to ban firearm sales. Failing at that, however, he is now proposing exponential tax increases on constitutionally protected arms. This should surprise no one, being that Joe Biden – the Democrat candidate for the White House – is proposing similar measures.
Ironically, both Murphy and Biden insist that they are champions of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the oppressed. Needless to say, however, these are the very groups whose Second Amendment rights will suffer the most if these taxation schemes are enacted.
New Jersey residents seeking to buy firearms are already subject to a slew of onerous prior restraints, including fees for permits, along with the associated costs of fingerprinting and lengthy waiting periods for “processing.”
An article in Guns.com now reports that Murphy’s budget plan would raise the price of a pistol purchase permit by a factor of 24, while the firearms identification card needed for the purchase of a long gun would increase by a factor of nearly 20.
Put another way, buying a gun in New Jersey would become some 2,000 times more expensive under the plan!
But that’s not all. The governor is also seeking to raise firearm dealer licensing and manufacturing fees (on top of those already required by the federal government) by a factor of 10. The governor’s budget plan itself additionally mentions “implementing excise taxes on firearms and ammunition” in unspecified amounts.
Many families struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and seeking a firearm as margin of protection against increasing social unrest would simply be out of luck.
And that’s exactly the way Murphy wants it. “[A] safer society, for my taste, has fewer guns and not more guns,” Murphy infamously said in March. When confronted by the manifest hypocrisy of this sentiment when he himself was appearing with armed bodyguards at his side, Murphy flippantly replied: “It is what it is.”