State Dems accused of pushing ‘backdoor gun tax’ on lawful firearm owners

by Vern Evans

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A local news outlet accused Colorado Democrats of pushing a “backdoor gun tax” through legislation that would require firearm owners to purchase liability insurance. 

Three state Democrats — two representatives and one senator — on Feb. 13 introduced the legislation, which would require gun owners to maintain insurance that covers anyone injured from an accidental shooting. Failure to buy the extra coverage would face a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for the second.

“That’s right, the same ‘justice reform’-obsessed lawmakers who had to be publicly shamed into cracking down on auto theft last year after previously reducing it to a misdemeanor — have no problem socking it to lawful gun owners,” The Denver Gazette’s editorial board wrote Sunday.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Steven Woodrow, said the bill would encourage responsible firearm ownership amid escalating gun violence. He pointed to a study that found deaths and injuries from firearms cost Colorado nearly $12 billion each year.

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But the Gazette editorial board said the bill was simply a guise to limit legal gun ownership. 

“In other words, it’s gun control by another name,” the editorial board wrote. “It also amounts to a gun tax (as well as a boon to the insurance industry).”

The proposal doesn’t provide an exception for firearms safely locked in an owner’s home, according to the Gazette. Gun owners must be denied insurance at least twice or prove they can’t afford the coverage before they’re granted an exception.

Gun owner shoots rifle

“You can plead poverty, but you have to go to court first,” The Gazette editorial board wrote. “How considerate of the authors.”

In January, a Maryland Democrat proposed similar legislation that would prohibit gun owners from carrying unless they paid at least $300,000 in liability insurance. The bill’s sponsor, Del. Terri Hill, called it “another effort at common sense gun legislation.”

In California, meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that in July will add an 11% excise tax on gun and ammunition sales on top of an existing 10% or 11% federal tax.

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“The carnage, it’s too much. We can’t normalize it, we can’t accept it,” Newsom said about the nation’s gun violence during a signing ceremony in Sacramento. “This is a small price to pay.”

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But critics have argued that slapping more gun control policies on lawful firearm owners doesn’t reduce violence and violates the Second Amendment. 

“It is a blatant and egregious attack on the rights of law-abiding Californians and a calculated maneuver to dismantle the Second Amendment,” the National Rifle Association’s Western Regional Director Dan Reid previously told Fox News in response to the Golden State law.

Neither Woodrow nor the other two sponsors, Rep. Iman Jodeh and Sen. Chris Hansen, returned requests for comment.

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