Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, along with 24 other House Democrats, introduced the bill proposing the excise tax on the sale of "large capacity ammunition feeding devices and semi-automatic assault weapons" on Friday, Aug. 4. Beyer notably introduced similar legislation last year.
The bill, known as HR 5135, would amend the 1986 Internal Revenue Code to add the additional 1,000 percent excise tax. Under the proposal, a semi-automatic rifle or pistol with a fixed magazine of 10 rounds or more or that have other various features that cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 could end up costing between $5,000 to more than $20,000. Beyer claims this change is necessary to "curb the epidemic of gun violence." (Related: ATF has shut down nearly 2,000 gun stores since the implementation of its new "zero tolerance" policy.)
"Congress must take action to stem the flood of weapons of war into American communities, which have taken a toll in Uvalde, Buffalo, Tulsa and too many other places," claimed Beyer when he introduced his first version of this bill last year. "Again and again, assault weapons designed for use on the battlefield have been used in mass shootings at schools, grocery stores, hospitals, churches, synagogues, malls, theaters, bars and so on."
As of Monday, Aug. 7, the full text of HR 5135 has not been released for public scrutiny. It is unclear if any changes were made from his 2022 version of this same bill.
Beyer's bill was introduced less than a week after more than 100 House Democrats confronted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about their "disappointment" that House Republicans have not put forward legislation supposedly to curb gun violence in America.
"As members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, we call on you [McCarthy] to schedule votes on gun violence prevention legislation as soon as possible this year," they wrote in a public letter. "Gun violence is the leading cause of death of children in America since 2020. Last year, 1,686 children were killed and another 4,485 were injured by gun violence. Despite this preventable carnage, the House has yet to vote on even one gun violence prevention bill."
According to Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for the pro-Second Amendment organization the Gun Owners of America, all a massive excise tax on semi-automatic weapons would do is keep these firearms in the hands of wealthy elites and criminals who can afford them. Many so-called semi-automatic firearms are hunting rifles used by middle and working-class Americans.
"Taxing firearms at 1,000 percent would price low- and middle-income families out of the right to self-defense, and that impact would be felt the most by innocent Americans living in crime-ridden neighborhoods," warned Johnston. "This unconstitutional legislation is nothing more than a backdoor gun ban."
The National Rifle Association has also argued against Democrats' use of the term "assault weapon," a designation used to "deliberately confuse the public and advance the political cause of gun control."
Pro-gun organizations claim the terms "assault weapon" or "assault rifle" should only apply to automatic firearms which can discharge ammunition continuously with only one trigger pull. These firearms are used by the United States Armed Forces and are very difficult to obtain for civilian use.
Gun control advocates, meanwhile, use the nebulous term "assault weapon" to include semi-automatic weapons that fire just a single round with one trigger pull. They claim these firearms, many of which are hunting rifles used by working-class families all over America, should also be placed under stricter controls.
Learn more about threats against gun rights in America at SecondAmendment.news.
Watch this clip from Fox News of President Joe Biden claiming that it is "sick" behavior to purchase semi-automatic firearms.