California lawmaker brings back $25 gun tax plan after multiple mass shootings

In the wake of multiple recent mass shootings, a California lawmaker announced Monday that he is reviving his bill to tax firearm sales in the state.

“No more thoughts and prayers. The time for action is now,” Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, said in a statement.

His Assembly Bill 18 would apply a $25 excise tax on all sales of handguns and semiautomatic rifles. It stalled in a committee in May, which usually signals a bill’s failure.

Levine on Monday said he plans to reintroduce the proposal with an urgency clause that would allow lawmakers to consider it even though it did not clear a committee. He also plans to amend it to include an additional excise tax on sales of ammunition.

Revenue from the gun and bullet sales would go toward the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program, “with preference given to programs that have been shown to be the most effective at reducing violence and to applicants in cities or regions disproportionately affected by violence,” according to a statement from Levine’s office.

AB 18’s renewal comes more than a week after a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, and just days after massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“While Washington refuses to take action, California can take a bold step forward to end gun violence. A $25 tax on firearms is a small amount for gun owners to pay to stem the tragic violence guns inflict on innocent Californians and will create a permanent and desperately needed funding source to reduce gun violence in our state,” Levine said in a statement.

Lawmakers return to Sacramento from recess next Monday.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.