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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A nickel a bullet

A case study in unintended consequences:

As Chicago struggles to quell gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides, a top elected official wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm - an effort even she acknowledges could spark a legal challenge.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will submit a budget proposal Thursday that calls for a tax of a nickel for each bullet and $25 for each firearm sold in the nation's second-largest county, which encompasses Chicago.

[. . .]

If she wants to get to the people causing all the problems she ought to put a tax on street gangs," he said. "All this is going to do is drive business out of Cook County, into other counties, Indiana and Wisconsin."

One suburban gun shop owner agreed, saying that his customers, many of whom are hunters and police officers, will simply go elsewhere.

The proposal recognizes a correlation conservatives have long argued: Tax what you want less of. But the real effect is not likely to be fewer guns and bullets, but fewer guns and bullets bought in Cook County. According to a recent study:

A study of guns seized by Chicago police shows that suburban gun shops are a main source of guns used in crimes in the city.

The research shows that some 29 percent of the guns recovered on Chicago's streets between 2008 and the end of March were bought in the Cook County suburbs. Lake County, Ind., was the second largest source, accounting for 6 percent of the weapons, and other counties surrounding Chicago — including Lake County, Ill., and Will, DuPage and Kane counties — were also among the top 10 sources.

[. . .]

Ander said she was surprised by the percentage of guns that came from Illinois, rather than from neighboring states with comparatively relaxed gun laws. About 42 percent of the guns came from Illinois. Indiana ranked second, contributing 18 percent of the guns, and Wisconsin accounted for about 4 percent.

This is counterintuitive if you buy the argument that most of the guns in violent jurisdictions  come from surrounding gun-happy states. But a combination of tough lows and high costs could make that argument true, or at least truer. I'm sure the folks in northwest Indiana would be more than happy to accomodate frustrated Cook Countians.


tim zank
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 8:48pm

Stupid is as stupid does..It's almost like liberals actually WANT the bad guys to have all the control.

Harl Delos
Sat, 10/20/2012 - 12:07am

How about a tax on 9 mm ammo, but not on 30-06 or 12-gage, and a tax on guns with plastic parts, and none on guns made of steel and walnut?

If there were a tax on guns fired sideways, that'd be even better, but I'm not sure how to do that.