Government & Politics

Another Gun Grab: Tax Breaks for ARs

Rep. Rosa DeLauro re-introduced a warmed over piece of gun-control idiocy.

Dan Gilmore · Apr. 8, 2015
Photo courtesy Neon Tommy

Joe Bango took his AR-15 rifle out of his safe and traveled to the headquarters of the Connecticut State Police in Middletown. It was weeks after a mentally deranged man shot his mother and proceeded to use a gun similar to Bango’s to murder 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Bango was taking his to the police to have it destroyed.

The Connecticut native owned the AR-15 for 10 years but never used it. Suddenly, Bango saw it as a liability. “There’s always a chance it can be stolen,” The New Haven Register quoted him as saying. “It’s an attractive nuisance. You can lock it in a safe, but people think there may be valuables in there. Why take a chance if I’m not using it?”

The press and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) were at the station. In a public display, Bango gave up his rifle to a police lieutenant who wore a pistol on his hip. In that move, Bango became the impetus for the warmed over piece of gun control idiocy DeLauro re-introduced to Congress this week.

The bill, Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Education of our Streets Act (SAFER Streets Act), would give a $2,000 tax credit over two years for anyone who, like Bango, voluntarily give up their “assault weapon” as defined by the federal government. It was a bill Bango suggested to his Nutmegger representative.

Gun grabbers exploited the Sandy Hook murders in order to introduce lots of bad bills. This bill is no exception.

“Let us be clear. Assault weapons are not about hunting or even self-defense and they should be off the streets,” DeLauro said in a statement introducing the original bill. “There is no reason on Earth, other than to kill as many people as possible in a very short period of time, that anyone needs a gun designed for military purposes.”

Did DeLauro even try? She barely tweaked that statement when she reissued it this week.

It’s hard to take her bill seriously – because she seemingly didn’t. And it will go nowhere in the Republican Congress.

There are unsubstantiated facts, such as her claim that assault weapons “have been disproportionately used to kill law enforcement officers in the line of duty.”

What baloney. The Executive Director for the Fraternal Order of Police, in countering Obama’s attempted administrative move against popular AR-15 ammunition, said M855 “green tip” ammunition “has not historically posed a threat to law enforcement.”

In terms of reducing crime, that’s already done. The Department of Justice’s own numbers show that violent crime dropped 75% since 1993, and the murder rate has been halved. As National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke writes, “[S]o-called ‘assault rifles’ are used so infrequently that the FBI doesn’t even keep statistics.”

And the whole plan of using the IRS as a carrot to entice people to give up their guns? That’s rich.

Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccille argues it could be good for the gun industry: “If Rep. DeLauro wants to hand out tax credits to people willing trade in a qualifying hunk of junk so they can score sweet new guns, it would be churlish to say ‘no.’”

Hey! April will be stimulus month at Bushmaster, Stag Arms and DPMS!

Furthermore, this could be a boon for the developing market for 80% AR-15 receivers. What used to be a high-end project for gun nuts with access to a milling machine could become an easy way to get a tax credit, thanks to DeLauro. The thing you hand in to the government just has to be defined as an “assault weapon.” Does it have to work? We read the bill. Nope.

This episode illustrates two strategies of gun control advocates. First, DeLauro’s bill is incremental. The Right blogosphere is rife with jokes about how a Democrat wants to give gun owners heaps of cash for guns. But really, it’s a subtle change that will set a government precedent of discouraging gun ownership.

Make no mistake: DeLauro wants all the scary-looking guns banned. “She supports a comprehensive ban on assault weapons as well as high-capacity ammunition feeding devices,” her press release reads. She won’t be content with just giving a tax credit for her favorite people.

Second, her bill is full of the rhetoric of gun control crusaders: that it’s a safety issue, or a public health risk. DeLauro introduced this bill to commemorate Public Health Week.

If Joe Bango doesn’t want his gun anymore, that’s his right – just like it’s every American’s right not to speak his or her mind, or not practice any religion. But if somehow Congress were to pass this law, it would be a clear infringement of the Second Amendment, as the government would actively encourage people to disarm. Bango and DeLauro should not confuse personal decisions with policy.

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