Virginia Democrat Rep. Don Beyer is currently drafting legislation that would heavily tax AR-15s and other semiautomatic weapons purchases. This measure could be passed without the need for a Republican filibuster in Congress.
Beyer’s proposal would impose a 1,000 percent tax on the purchase of assault-style weaponsYou can also purchase accessories, such as high-capacity magazines, and some other accessories. This tax could mean that the minimum cost for a new AR-15 rifle model, which is often used in mass shootings and other activities, could jump from $500 up to $5,000.
The cost increases wouldn’t mean that no one could buy the rifle — some versions of the AR-15 sell for thousands of dollars already — but it would create difficulties for those with modest incomes, including younger individuals, and could potentially deter people from buying such weapons on a whim.
Beyer said that he was inspired to seek creative solutions to the issue due to Republicans’ refusal to cooperate with Democrats following the recent massacres in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. Gun control measures by Democrats have failed to pass in the past. a bipartisan effort in CongressTo pass, it would need to be defeated in the Senate. This means that it would need to be supported by at least 10 Republicans.
Beyer’s proposal, however, sidesteps the 60-vote threshold needed to bypass the filibuster. His bill is instead could be attached to a reconciliation packageIt would be able to pass both houses with a simple majority vote.
“What [the proposal is] intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen,” Beyer told Insider regarding his as-yet undrafted bill. “We think that a 1,000 percent fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation.”
Beyer is open to negotiating on the rate at which AR-15s and other weapons could be taxed, and said that there’s “nothing magical” about the number he chose. But the rate has to be significant enough, he said, to “actually inhibit and restrict sales,” while still not being “an absolute ban.”
Ultimately, the bill is aimed at “restrict[ing] the flow of weapons of war into American communities,” the Virginia congressman said on Twitter..
Although the measure could pass without a Senate filibuster it still faces difficult odds to pass. It’s possible that conservative Democrats will vote against Beyer’s bill, perhaps out of fear that implementing gun restrictions could hurt their reelection chances in this year’s midterms. Even though Senator Joe Manchin (D. West Virginia) has stated that he is open to passing an assault weapons ban, he could still oppose the method that Beyer’s bill would employ to cut down AR-15 sales.
In wake of the recent string of mass shootings across the country, Americans appear to be more receptive to gun control measures, though they aren’t very optimistic that any legislation will be passed. 55% of Americans in a recent Economist/YouGov pollOnly 33% said they would support an assault weapons ban, while only 15% said they would. Meanwhile, only 15 percent of Americans believe that any measure on guns can be passed by Congress this year, while 43 percent say it’s not likely to happen.