WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Two Democratic lawmakers have proposed legislation to nearly double the current 11 percent tax on handguns, and impose a 50 percent tax on shells and cartridges.

Reps. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill, and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., say the “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act” (H.R. 3018) would generate $600 million per year that would be used to fund gun violence prevention and law-enforcement.

“Gun violence in America has reached epidemic proportions and we cannot, as a nation, any longer tolerate the on-going social and economic costs of inaction,” writes Rep. Davis.

“This legislation is a pro-active approach to reducing gun violence by using proven preventive programs which have been starved for funds until now. As part of a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy to reduce gun violence, this legislation closes major loopholes in tax law and lays out an equitable, long term, sustainable strategy to provide the requisite resources.”

The proposed bill would also increase the transfer tax on all weapons — which excludes antique guns — that are covered under the National Firearms Act.

The bill would impose a 20 percent tax on “(A) Pistols, (B) Revolvers, (C) Firearms (other than pistols and revolvers), and (D) Any lower frame or receiver for a firearm, whether for a semiautomatic pistol, rifle, or shotgun that is designed to accommodate interchangeable upper receivers.”

All federal, state and local agencies, including police departments would be exempt from paying the tax.

Davis represents the 7th district of Illinois, including portions of the city of Chicago. According to a Chicago Police Department report to the Sun-Times, there were 184 murders this year through the end of June, compared with 260 in 2012 and 188 in 2011.

The lawmakers note that recent research “demonstrates that firearm injury costs the United States over $174 billion annually, with over $12 billion of this loss bourn by state, federal and local governments.” The lawmakers also note that the University of Chicago Crime Lab data that “gun violence costs the City of Chicago $2.5 billion a year alone. Despite the high cost of gun violence, current federal taxes on guns and ammunition yielded only $514 million in 2012.”


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