HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A lawmaker is proposing a 35 percent tax on ammunition sales in an effort to prevent and reduce gun violence on city streets.
State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest held a news conference Thursday morning about her proposal, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Stream the entire news conference here.
Gilchrest said her bill would use the sales tax to fund gun violence protection.
"That the general statutes be amended to establish an excise tax on gross earnings derived from the first sale of ammunition within this state at the rate of thirty-five per cent per round," the proposal states.
She said the legislation could help schools, community groups, and even hospitals to reduce violence and help survivors.
"We are with the families. We are with the young people that are actually shot. We are on the prevention side," said Deborah Davis, of Mothers United Against Violence.
The plan, if approved, would put a 35 percent tax on ammunition sales, generating about $7 million. For example, if someone purchased $100 worth of ammunition, there could be a tax of $35.
"They're spending as much as $27 million in Oakland, California, which is the size of our four cities. We could be asking for a lot more," Gilchrest said.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League provided a comment to Channel 3 on Thursday afternoon:
"Those who legally purchase ammunition in Connecticut have already been fingerprinted and background checked at the municipal, state and federal levels," said Holly Sullivan, president, CCDL. "The proposed legislation will not prevent any criminal from illegally obtaining guns or ammunition that has intent to commit violent crimes. A 35 percent tax on ammunition would put more people at risk. Lower income individuals who typically live in more dangerous neighborhoods will likely be priced out the most effective means of gun safety which is target practice and developing safe handling skills. These residents will be disproportionately impacted by this tax. CCDL is calling into question whether or not the real reason for this bill is based on contempt for the 2nd Amendment. Representative Gilchrest must realize the result of who would actually be impacted.”
Those who are working on the streets to help young people say gun violence is terrorizing communities and is a public health issue.
"In cities like Hartford, gun violence is very heavy. There are gun shots that happen where our young people who are laying in our beds, where gun shots are going through their windows,” said Ayesha Clarke, of Compass Youth Collaborative.
The finance committee must vote to approve the proposal, and then there would be a public hearing.