Democratic lawmakers have proposed a bill that would impose a 1,000% excise tax on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines. This increase would significantly raise the cost of these items, a measure intended to limit their accessibility. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, and supported by 24 other House Democrats. This is the second time such a proposal has been introduced; a similar bill was proposed last year but failed to progress.
Details of the new bill are still forthcoming, but last year’s version imposed the tax on any device capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term “semiautomatic assault weapon” was defined as a semiautomatic rifle or pistol with a fixed magazine of 10 rounds or more, or possessing certain other characteristics.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has previously criticized the use of the term “assault weapon,” arguing that it is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public and further the cause of gun control. The NRA maintains that the term “assault rifle” should only apply to fully automatic weapons, which are used by the military and not readily available to the public.
The proposed legislation comes in the wake of a letter from over 100 Democrats expressing disappointment in House GOP leaders for not taking action to limit gun violence in the U.S. The letter urged votes legislation, highlighting that gun violence has been the leading cause of death among American children since 2020.
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