HomeNewsNew York Lawmakers Propose Ammunition Tax Up to 5 Cents a Round

New York Lawmakers Propose Ammunition Tax Up to 5 Cents a Round

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Two New York lawmakers want to tax ammunition up to five cents a round for particular bullets as the state works to combat gun deaths.

The unique law would make the Empire State the only state in the country to enforce such a tax. That tax revenue would go to a research fun that would study gun violence. Two groups, the state Department of Health and the State University of New York, would oversee the fund.

Field and Stream reported on the proposed measure. State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) introduced the measure.

At a Glance

  • NY state gun deaths on the rise and officials blame pandemic
  • On average, 870 people die by guns in NY per year; an additional 2,600 people get wounded per Everytown For Gun Safety
  • Bill would tax bullets that measure .22 caliber or less at $.02
  • Bigger shells would get a $.05 tax

NY Gun Violence On The Rise, So A Tax Could Help

Ok, so the tax goes this way. Bullets with a .22 caliber or less get a two-cent tax while others get a five-cent tax. Think of it like a sin tax that already happens with cigarettes and alcohol in some states.

Gounardes called the bill a “fact-based approach” at saving lives and bringing peace to our communities.” He calls the bill’s funded research program aspect a way to “help build smart and effective policies.”

Gun Owners Want Their New York Ammunition Untaxed, Of Course

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R,C,I-Watertown) expressed the law-abiding citizen point of view. Walczyk added the standard typical second part of that argument, saying everyone knows illegal guns are involved in the most gun crime.

“I can’t imagine a single murderer deciding not to pull the trigger because the price per round went up,” the assemblyman told Newzjunky.com.

He also cited the scarcity of bullets and how this penny tax is a “direct attack on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.” 

Bullet makers may see the tax as an added cost. Of course, gun owners may not like the added price of their bullets. The tacked-on tax is going to hit somebody somewhere. If you buy 1,000 rounds of ammunition for your handgun, those pennies are going to add up.

This NY tax is not the first government tax on bullets. Field and Stream said Seattle, Washington, and Cook County, Illinois, impose a similar tax to the proposed fee. The website also mentioned Tennessee’s foray into bullet taxation. The state funded its Wildlife Resource fund with a $0.10 stamp on ammo boxes from 1937 to 2019.