California Lawmakers Vote to Raise Gun Taxes to Pay for School Security Upgrades | #schoolsaftey

The proposed tax revenue, which is estimated to generate $159 million annually, would also be used for violence prevention programs.

California lawmakers voted Thursday to raise taxes on guns and ammunition to pay for security improvements and violence prevention programs at public schools.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 28, would impose an 11% tax on dealers and manufacturers, reports AP News. The federal government already taxes the sale of guns and ammunition nationwide. The government distributes the money to the states, which spend it on wildlife conservation and hunting safety programs.

Although the proposed tax in California doesn’t apply to those who buy guns or ammunition, businesses are expected to raise prices to cover the cost of the tax.

“It’s a poll tax. It’s a tax on exercising a constitutional right,” said Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, who opposes the tax. “We’re going to have to file a lawsuit to challenge it.”

The bill just met the two-thirds vote requirement in both houses of the Legislature. The Senate approved it 27 to nine and the Assembly approved it 54 to 17, with Republicans opposing and several Democrats withholding their vote.

How Would the California Gun Tax Revenue Be Used?

If signed into law, the tax would go into effect on July 1, 2024, and would generate approximately $159 million in revenue annually, according to an estimate from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

The first $75 million would go to the California Violence Intervention and Prevent Grant Program, which funds projects aimed at gang-involved youth, including sports programs and life coaching. Although California ranks 43rd out of 50 states for gun death rates, the violent crime rate increased by 6.1% in 2022, according to the California Department of Justice.

The following $50 million would go to the State Department of Education to improve public school safety, including physical security improvements, safety assessments, after-school programs for at-risk students, and mental and behavioral health services for students, teachers, and other school employees. A small amount would also be used for counseling and trauma services for victims of mass shootings and gun violence.

“Don’t let politics stand in the way of saving the lives of our children and providing mental health care in our school districts,” said bill proponent Anthony Portantino, a Democratic state senator. “Fear should not be on the brow of a parent when they send their kids to school.”

The bill now heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until Oct. 14 to decide whether to sign it into law. It is the first time Democrats have successfully sent a firearms tax proposal to the governor, the Los Angeles Times reports. A spokesperson for Newson said he would “evaluate the bill on its merits.”

“He has been an incredible national leader and champion on gun violence prevention issues and continues to be bold on this front,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, the bill’s author. “We have every expectation that he will sign the bill.”

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