While you weren’t paying attention, Democrats introduced a bill that would massively increase taxes on guns and ammo (op-ed)

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This editorial is brought to you by a former Chief of Police and staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Democrats are nothing if not a relentless bunch. At the same time that they are encouraging anarchy in our major cities, they are also trying to make it impossible for Americans to protect themselves.

Knowing that they have no prayer of removing the Second Amendment, they are trying to make it financially crippling for Americans to exercise our right to keep and bear arms.

In January, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)., introduced H.R. 5717, which would allegedly prevent gun violence. As a reminder, Johnson is the genius who in a House hearing a couple of years ago was questioning a navy admiral of the U.S. Pacific Command, about the stationing of 8,000 Marines on the island of Guam.

Johnson, who will never be confused with a rocket scientist, expressed his concern that the addition of that many Marines and their families might cause the island to “tip over and capsize.” Seriously.

 

The introduction of the bill said it is intended:

“to end the epidemic of gun violence and build safety communities by strengthening federal firearms laws and supporting gun violence research, intervention, and prevention initiatives,” 

Among the requirements of the bill, is the requirement that individuals obtain licenses to possess firearms, raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms, and require law enforcement agencies to be notified if an individual did not pass a background check.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)., introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 3254. Both bills seek to restrict the same class of firearms that were restricted under the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. So-called “companion legislation” is supposed to “promote simultaneous consideration of a measure,” according to the Senate.

One of the main components of the House bill is the confiscatory taxes that would be levied on firearms and ammunition. Under the proposal, pistols, revolvers, and other firearms would be taxable at 30%. Ammunition, shotgun, and rifle cartridges would be taxable at 50%. So, if they cannot take the weapons away, they will make it cost prohibitive to own and use firearms.

Under the U.S. code, a firearm is defined as “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will…expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,” or “any destructive device.” Destructive devices are defined as bombs, grenades, rockets, missiles, mines, or similar instruments.

Ammunition is defined as “bullets, cartridge cases, powders and primers designed to be used in a firearm,” according to federal law.

Johnson’s communication director, Andy Phelan said:

“the law would increase taxes on all ammunition, which is defined in the policy as “shells and cartridges.””.

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The spokesman said 39% of the money collected from the taxes would be utilized for research on and programs for gun violence prevention. The proposed legislation doesn’t say exactly how the funds would be used, or where the other 61% of tax money confiscated would be directed.

Currently, firearms and ammunition are taxed at a rate of about 10%. Depending on where the taxes are collected, they are directed toward different purposes, including wildlife preservation and hunter safety and education.

In late March, the Johnson’s bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, where it still sits. The Senate version was read twice on February 5, 2020 and referred to the Finance Committee, where it still sits.

Under the current makeup of Congress, it is highly unlikely such a bill would pass the Senate, and if it were somehow able to sneak by, President Trump would likely veto it, and the Senate would not have the votes to override such a veto. 

Editorial: “Heroes Act” is one giant gift to liberals, including prisoner release and mail-in voting

This editorial was written by a former chief of police and staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The “HEROES” Act. Sounds nice and noble. Doing something for those who have sacrificed over the last few months in order to make sure that essential services are taken care of…police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, EMT’s, correctional officers. Others such as fast food workers, grocery store clerks, cashiers. Surely they deserve recognition under a “HEROES” Act.

However, if one checks the details, the $3 trillion package is a lot more than a so-called economic “stimulus.”

Last week, House Democrats introduced the behemoth $3 trillion package. However, the devil appears to be in the details.

Buried inside the bill is a lot of language that would deal with some progressive priorities, in particular protection for illegals, especially if their jobs are deemed “essential.”

Let’s take convicted criminals for example. Under the HEROES Act, police officers would receive some job security by convicted criminals being released back onto the streets. The bill would provide that any convicted prisoner over the age of 50 would be released, their underlying offense notwithstanding.

According to Breitbart, over 97% of federal convicts take plea deals as opposed to facing more serious charges at trial, the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s 2018 annual report noted. With that in consideration, releasing prisoners early does not make sense, they note.

Democrats say that they would only be releasing “non-violent” criminals back onto the streets, but if recent history serves as a guide, that is not always the case.

There are a number of cases of convicts who were released due to coronavirus concerns who offended once they were let out, and, in fact, Law Enforcement Today has reported on several of them.

A summary of the proposed bill reads:

“During a declared national emergency relating to a communicable disease, [the legislation] mandates the release into community supervision of federal prisoners and pretrial detainees who are non-violent and, for instance, pregnant women, juveniles, older prisoners and detainees, and those with certain medical conditions.”

The bill would also “modify probation and supervised release policies to avoid unnecessary in-person contact with probation officers and to reduce the numbers of those supervised and those imprisoned for violations,” and “Mandates the release of non-violent pretrial defendants on their own recognizance.”

In addition, Pelosi’s legislation (the bill was written with no input from committees, no input from the Republicans, and no debate) provides for judges to have the ability to shorten sentences of convicted felons, as well as the power to terminate fees that inmates need to pay before their trials so they can be released without posting bail.

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The summary continues:

“During the COVID-19 emergency, expands court authority to order compassionate release for federal prisoners and to reduce sentences, and removes administrative barriers that slow the ability of 81 prisoners to seek compassionate release. Authorizes courts to temporarily release persons who have been sentenced, but have not yet been transported to a Bureau of Prisons facility, to protect them from COVID-19.

“Authorizes the establishment of a grant program that distributes funds directly to state and local courts, with the condition that they impose a moratorium on the imposition and collection of court-imposed fees and fines during the COVID19 crisis.”

Due to the size of the bill, which, honestly, is mind-boggling, most of the details are buried within where it was probably hoped nobody will look.

For example, as the Federalist Papers notes, on page 1,762 of the act is where the Department of Homeland Security is instructed to release illegal “immigrants” back onto the streets who are being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“The Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize for release on recognizance or alternatives to detention individuals who are not subject to mandatory detention laws, unless the individual is a threat to public safety or national security,” the bill says.

If an illegal “immigrant” is lucky enough to be employed in “essential critical infrastructure,” they are excluded from being in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That’s down on page 1,737. The bill would also exempt employers who hire illegal “immigrants.”

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli was on to that, however.

Cuccinelli tweeted:

“These pages of the proposed bill create a deferred action program for aliens based on the CISA essential workforce list. Granting both deferred action and employment authorization. The aliens wouldn’t even have to apply for an EAD or deferred action, they get it automatically.”

While the bill is being spun as help for American workers and businesses, again, the devil appears to be in the details. The bill also has language changing how elections are conducted in the country, by mandating mail-in voting across the nation, as well as implementing a 15-day minimum period of early voting.

It would allow same-day voter registration effective this coming November, and that provision would go on in perpetuity for future federal elections. The bill would also “prohibit states from requiring voter registration applicants to provide more than the last four digits of their social security numbers.”

In addition, the legislation would emasculate voter identification requirements, saying that all that would be required is the following:

“An individual may make a sworn written statement attesting to their identity to fulfill the identification requirement.”

Some Democrats, however believe the bill goes too far. For example, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) voted against the act, saying that she “has a responsibility to be honest with the people of Central Virginia, including those who are suffering, sick, losing their jobs, or losing their businesses.”

“In the face of this crisis, they expect our government to work together quickly to provide real relief for those who need it most,” she said in a statement:

“Unfortunately, many Members of Congress—including some in my own party—have decided to use this package as an opportunity to make political statements and propose a bill that goes far beyond pandemic relief and has no chance at becoming law, further delaying the help so many need.”

Fourteen Democrats voted against the bill. Among Republicans, only Rep. Peter King of New York voted for it.


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