Ammo Tax?

Two rumors keep popping up and making the rounds through the viral e-mail circuit:

1. Obama is planning a 500% tax on ammo

2. All the ammo you currently have is going to become illegal in July and only ammo with serial numbers will be legal.

Both of these rumors are bogus.

The ammo tax idea has been a fantasy of the gun banners for decades, but I have seen no recent attempt to implement any such thing.  Such a tax would require an act of Congress and while there has been a bill introduced which addresses gun and ammo excise tax issues, it is a pro-gun bill trying to fix some problems in the system.  There has not been a serious proposal put forward to dramatically increase taxes on ammunition.

Part of the source of the resurgence of the ammo tax rumor could be the ammo serialization rumor.  While ammo serialization is a real issue, it is not an imminent threat.  There is a company that built a machine that can engrave tiny serial numbers on bullets and cases and they have established a fake organization promoting the technology as a crime solving tool.  They have also convinced legislators in about 18 states to introduce model legislation they have written.  So far not even California or Massachusetts has come close to actually adopting the legislation.

So while the threat of mandating serialization and registration of all ammo – and the destruction of all non-serialized and registered ammo – is real, it is not gaining any traction and is unlikely to do so in the near future.  This idea should be carefully watched, but not panicked over.

There is another rumor that I'm a bit more concerned about.  Sources say that some in the State Department are moving to block the importation of "military caliber" ammunition.  While this is still just a rumor at this point, it is something I warned about during the effort to block the Holder nomination.  Hillary Clinton at State, Eric Holder at Justice, Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff, not to mention Obama himself… We definitely have enemies in high places and there are things which can be done to harass the firearms community without involving Congress.  Restricting, delaying, and generally interfering with imports of ammunition, guns, and gun parts are all very real possibilities.  It is also very possible that Eric Holder might change regulations on firearms manufacturers, dealers, and importers to make it much more difficult for them to do business and make them more vulnerable to criminal charges for technical errors.

None of these things is anything more than rumor and speculation at this point, but they are likely possibilities and require careful watching and an immediate response if any of them begins to come to life.  In the mean time, we all need to be careful about raising false alarms that could dull the response when a real alarm is sounded.

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