Today, Reps. Brad Schneider (IL-10); Danny K. Davis (IL-07); Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09); Earl Blumenauer (OR-01); Tom Suozzi (NY-03); Gwen Moore (WI-04); and Dwight Evans (PA-03) introduced The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act--legislation to create guaranteed annual funding for gun violence prevention. The bill would increase the federal excise tax on guns and ammunition by half a percent and apply the federal excise firearms tax to assault-weapon frames and receivers which currently are not taxed if sold separately. The bill would direct the estimated $20 to $38 million in new revenue to four programs designed to make communities safer: community-based violence prevention grants, gun violence research, hate crimes prevention and enforcement, and forensic examiner training to improve gun crime clearance rates.
"This summer, my community was devastated by gun violence when a deranged individual used an assault rifle to open fire on a joyful July 4th parade in Highland Park, murdering 7 and wounding many others," said Congressman Schneider. "These weapons of war should be off our streets altogether. And beyond robbing us of our loved ones, many assault-style weapons regularly evade taxes entirely. This bill will close this undeserved tax loophole and make sure that assault weapons are taxed the same way as other firearms. It will also generate much-needed funding for gun violence prevention efforts, a critical step to addressing the gun violence epidemic in my community and in communities across the country."
"The gun violence crisis in America inflicts epidemic harm on individuals, families, and communities, and the federal government must substantially invest in gun violence prevention," said Congressman Davis. "Not one penny of current federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition goes to gun violence prevention. Further, the federal gun tax has remained the same for over 100 years, and the ammunition tax is the same as it was during World War II. The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act is an important part of comprehensive gun violence prevention because it creates guaranteed annual funding to stop gun violence via a small increase of 0.5% in existing excise gun and ammunition taxes. This bill also closes a major loophole in tax law that allows many assault-type weapons to evade taxes altogether. This bill is an important step in ensuring federal investment every year to make our communities safer."
"Gun violence continues to threaten communities from coast to coast and Congress has a responsibility to stem the crisis," said Congressman Pascrell, co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus. "After decades of inaction, raising the tax on firearms would provide an offset to the massive cost to society of gun violence -- exactly as taxes on alcohol and tobacco have successfully done. At the same time, this legislation will provide critical resources to our badly strapped state and local police forces, community anti-violence programs, and gun violence research. This bill would be a down payment on safeguarding our children, our communities, and our future. It is the type of solution the American people demand."
"When active shooter drills become as common as fire drills and earthquake drills in our children's schools, we can no longer deny that gun violence in America is a crisis," said Congressman Blumenauer. "While there is no single solution to ending gun violence, there are common sense solutions that can dramatically reduce gun violence and critically, save lives. This legislation to create annual funding certainty for gun violence prevention programs is a critical, common sense step we can take now to address the unrelenting trauma of gun violence in our communities."
"I am proud to join my Ways and Means colleagues to introduce this commonsense legislation to create annual funding for gun violence and hate crime prevention," said Congressman Suozzi.
"The threat of gun violence is an issue that my constituents and millions of Americans often confront every day," said Congresswoman Moore. "We can and must use every tool available to help end gun violence, including fixing discrepancies in our tax laws and empowering our communities with more funds for programs aimed at reducing violence. That's why I am proud to join my Ways and Means colleagues in championing this important legislative initiative."
"Guaranteed annual funding for gun violence prevention -- estimated at $20 million to 38 million per year -- would be an important tool in the toolbox to save lives, and I'm proud to support it," said Congressman Evans.