The Illinois county that’s home to Chicago is going to make legal gun owners pay for the crimes of illegal gun owners, regardless of what any court might say.
Cook County slapped a tax on guns in 2012 and added ammunition to the tax in 2015, according to Fox News. The tax was $25 per gun, with centerfire ammunition taxed at 5 cents per round and rimfire ammo at one cent per round, according to Fox.
An Oct. 21 Illinois Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice Mary Jane Theis, found the tax was unconstitutional and a violation of the Second Amendment.
But last week, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 12-2 to reinstate the tax, claiming that all revenue would go to gun violence prevention.
In the October ruling, Theis wrote that there was no way it was constitutional unless it supported a “substantially related” cause, according to the Chicago Tribune.
That was all Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle needed, who led that way to keep the $1.6 million the county gets per year from the tax.
She said that Chicago gun crime made the tax necessary, and that the tax is within the judge’s ruling
“The cost of a bullet should reflect, even if just a little bit, the cost of the violence that ultimately is not possible without the bullet,” she said, according to the Tribune.
Republican Commissioner Sean Morrison, one of the two votes opposing the continuation of the tax, read an opinion from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke who wrote separately when the tax was declared unconstitutional.
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“The majority’s analysis wrongly leaves the door open for a municipality to enact a future tax on firearms or ammunition that is more narrowly tailored to the purpose of ameliorating the cost of gun violence,” he wrote.
“The only problem with that approach is that it would still violate the Illinois Constitution.”
Morrison said the county is trying to revise the tax before the ruling that it was unconstitutional becomes official. The Supreme Court’s ruling sent the case back to the circuit court where it originated for final judgment, according to the Tribune.
“Clearly, what we’re stating here is that we’re going to try and play ‘beat the clock’ on getting around a state constitution,” Morrison said.
“Why we’re rushing this through given the fact that our state Supreme Court ruled against it is to me, just, I don’t understand it,” he said.
Taxing guns owners flies in the face of the flow of illegal guns in Chicago, where more than 5,300 guns have been seized by police this year, up more than 23 percent over last year, according to WMAG-TV.
In 2020, the city recorded more murders than any other in the U.S., according to the Chicago Tribune. Its 774 murders almost equalled the combined murders of New York and Los Angeles, the Tribune reported.
“The flow of illegal guns into Chicago is absolutely a problem,” University of Chicago’s Kimberley Smith told WGN-TV in a Nov. 3 report.
“The police department recovers 10,000 firearms every year in the city of Chicago, yet there are zero … gun stores within city limits,” Smith said. “So, none of those guns originate here.”