Oklahoma move to repeal sales tax on firearms
Story here. Note a sales tax on firearms isn't a real constitutional difficulty: you can have a nondiscriminatory sales tax on things related to the First Amendment (TVs, radios, and even newspapers although I haven't encountered a jurisdiction that taxes the last). I do think there is a problem with places that impose significant costs on firearms permits just for the sake of making them expensive, and unrelated to any real processing cost. A government can charge for a parade permit, but can't arbitrarily charge $500.
Hat tip to reader Ambiguous Ambiguae...
...I believe California charges sales tax on newspapers.
Posted by: Dave Dudley at December 16, 2008 12:31 PM
There is some precedent in not taxing materials used in exercising a fundamental right: Minneapolis Star vs. Minnesota (1983).
Some of the taxes collected on ammunition go to parks via the Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax.
Posted by: Scott at December 16, 2008 12:39 PM
I've been wondering whether once Heller is incorporated in California those of us who have paid the $35 "Dealer Record of Sale" fee to the state will be able to claim a refund on the grounds it is unconstitutional.
Posted by: Michael at December 16, 2008 01:02 PM
If one studies the legitimacy of taxes, one learns that the power to tax is egitimately a revenue power only. Thus the only proper tax is one which derives its existence solely from generating revenue.
The revenue/tax rate curve is convex having some maximum. The maximum is the dividing point between a legitimate tax that generates revenue and an illegitimate tax that is used to restrict consumption or otherwise control purchasing. While a tax rate above the maximum may generate the same total revenue as a tax rate below the maximum, the higher tax does so at the expense of the consumer(greater per item cost than is necessary, reduced consumption which often is associated with higher production costs). By acting to reduce consumption, the tax at the higher rate becomes more than a revenue generation action and is illegitimate.
Posted by: fwb at December 16, 2008 01:42 PM
Given FWB's comment it might be difficult to justify the NFA transfer tax?
Posted by: David McCleary at December 16, 2008 02:22 PM
Of course it is difficult. But even if one gives the government the benefit of the doubt and allows that the tax rate is not a rate that reduces consumption, there is still the following.
Te NFA transfer tax infringes on the Right to keep and bear Arms. The 2nd amendment being latter law circumscribes ALL prior law includng taxation, commerce control, etc. Normally latter law is recognized as overriding prior law that is in conflict with the latter law but no. The SC reverses the concept when it comes to Rights in latter law and governmental powers in prior law.
Total bovine excrement!
Posted by: fwb at December 16, 2008 03:25 PM
So how about those Internet connection taxes ...
Posted by: bill-tb at December 16, 2008 04:40 PM
GA does tax newspapers, at least at stores (not from boxes I think). The Atlanta J & C sets the price to make it look like there is no tax.
Posted by: Philip Dalrymple at December 17, 2008 04:31 AM