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Gun rights groups sue to block California’s new tax on firearms

Gun rights groups filed a 2nd Amendment challenge Tuesday to a new California law that slapped an extra tax on firearm and ammunition sales in an attempt to reduce gun violence.

The Firearms Policy Coalition said it filed the complaint on its members’ behalf in San Diego County Superior Court. Other plaintiffs included the National Rifle Assn., the California Rifle & Pistol Assn. and the Second Amendment Foundation.

The new tax law (Assembly Bill 28), which went into effect Monday, imposes an 11% excise tax on the sale of firearms, firearm parts and ammunition. It’s expected to generate $159 million in its first year to help fund state programs for gun violence prevention and gang intervention.

The complaint, which seeks to block the new law, said the excise tax is a violation of the 2nd Amendment because it’s a special tax on gun owners. It states that the U.S. Supreme Court “has repeatedly held that constitutional rights cannot be singled out for special taxation.”

“Here, California effectively seeks the power to destroy the exercise of a constitutional right by singling it out for special taxation,” the complaint reads. “If this tax is permitted, there is nothing stopping California from imposing a 50% or even 100% tax on a constitutional right it disfavors — whether it be the right to keep and bear arms, the right to free exercise of religion, or any other right.”

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the defendant in the case, said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs said the “gun tax is a modern Jim Crow law that targets people and rights hated by tyrants like Gov. Gavin Newsom.”


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