California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law on Tuesday making the state the first in the U.S. with a gun and ammunition tax.
Beginning in July, an 11 percent tax will be placed on the sale of guns, gun parts, and ammo.
The federal government currently charges a 10 or 11 percent tax on guns, depending on the type, which funds wildlife conservation and hunter education programs. No other state in the nation has an additional excise tax.
Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who authored the bill, said of his legislation, “if we can have a tax to protect wildlife, we can have one that protects people.”
The money raised through the new tax will be used by the state to fund gun-violence prevention, school safety, and programs for those impacted by gun violence.
“It’s a pretty sick thing that we can just casually say it, and we do casually say it, that the No. 1 killer of our kids is guns,” Newsom said during a press conference about the legislation.
The legislation, AB 28, states that gun violence is a racial inequality issue.
“Gun violence also contributes to significant racial and socioeconomic inequality in safety,” the legislation states. “The most recent available data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that in 2021, nationwide, the parents of a Black son 13 to 19 years of age were more likely to lose their child to gun homicide than every other cause of death combined.”
Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, has called the new law “unconstitutional.”
“These laws will not make us safer,” said Michel, according to a report from MSN. “They are an unconstitutional retaliatory and vindictive response to the Supreme Court’s affirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individuals’ right to choose to own a firearm for sport or to defend your family.”
The bill had barely passed the state legislature, as it required a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers. No Republicans had voted in favor and several Democrats in rural areas abstained from voting.
“This is not a general income tax, it’s not a corporate tax, it’s from my perspective more of a sin tax,” Newsom said.