Dems Seek Massive Excise Tax On ‘Assault Weapons’

A proposal to impose exorbitant taxes on popular semi-automatic rifles and ammunition was surreptitiously launched last week by Democrats in Congress.

On August 4, U.S. Representative Don “Doug” Beyer (D-VA) presented H.R.5135 with 24 partisan co-sponsors, most of whom originate from blue states. The bill’s title states the intention to amend the 1986 IRS Code to levy an additional 1,000% tax on the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons and their ammo. 

An entry-level AR like the Ruger AR556, Diamondback DB15, or S&W M&P15 would increase in price from about $660 to roughly $7,190 (not including applicable state and local taxes). 

A standard magazine, like the Magpul PMAG, would increase the price from $14 to over $150.

In the last session, Beyer filed a measure called the “Assault Weapons Excise Act,” which had over forty Democratic co-sponsors. A centerfire semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, or handgun that accepts a detachable magazine and possesses any standard characteristics would have been considered an “assault weapon” under that bill.

Pistol grips, adjustable stocks, barrel shrouds, forward grips, and threaded barrels are all characteristics that push rifles beyond the “assault weapon” threshold.

Included are pistols that feature a barrel shroud, threaded barrel, and stabilizing brace, can receive a magazine anywhere but the grip, weighs 50 ounces or more, and have a magazine well.

Any shotgun with a detachable magazine, bird’s head grip, or pistol grip, which can store more than five rounds in a fixed magazine, would be considered an assault weapon. 

When Beyer originally proposed his massive tax hike last June, he explicitly said that the plan could be made law by the easy end-run around a Senate filibuster using the tools of budget reconciliation. 

The House Ways and Means Committee, which is charged with increasing Federal funding via taxation and other means of income, has been assigned the task of reconciling H.R.5135.