Bill aims to tax gun sales, ammunition in Ga.; residents express distaste

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 7:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Gun sales have been up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, a proposed bill introduced by Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson is aiming to strengthen measures to prevent gun violence.

H.R. 5717, known as the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020, is suggesting to tax ammunition by 50 percent. Community members feel like there are better ways to enforce gun safety.

“There is no reason to impose a syntax on a purchase of ammunition or firearms," said John Allen Annillo "What society must do and should do is go back to teaching civic responsibility.”

The bill is evoking strong reactions from the public since being introduced by Johnson back in January. The bill aims to not only impose a 30 percent tax on all guns but also a 50 percent tax on all ammo.

A spokesperson from Johnson’s office said the bill’s intent is “to end the epidemic of gun violence and build safer communities.”

Nicole Bessinger is an owner of Shooters, a firearms retailer and an indoor gun range in Columbus. She said the bill is imposing upon her second amendment right to bear arms.

“The gun world is the only place where they really want to do things like that," Bessinger said. “They want to take people who haven’t done anything rights away. If we started treating DUIs the same way we did gun laws, they would take everybody’s drivers license away.”

If passed, the bill will require people to obtain a license to possess firearms, raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms from 18 to 21, and require law enforcement to be notified when someone does not pass a background check.

"How can you take away my second amendment right because you get to determine who gets to have one of these certificates,” Bessinger said.

39 percent of the money collected from these taxes would be put toward research and programs for gun violence prevention. However, the legislation does not specify how the funds would be allocated or where the other 61 percent of the money would go.

Johnson’s office said the bill still has to go through the House and Senate and be signed by the president before it becomes law.

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