"Happiness is a warm gun" update:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The senior executive of the county that includes Chicago dropped a proposed tax on bullets on Wednesday but kept a plan to tax firearms to help defray healthcare expenses associated with the high rate of gun.
"It is very important to us to tax guns because we know that guns are the sources of the incredible violence we have in our neighborhoods," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told a news conference. She said 29 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago were purchased legally in suburban Cook County.
[. . .]
Under the plan, the county would impose a $25 tax on the purchase of firearms. The tax is expected to raise $600,000 in revenue in 2013. Preckwinkle abandoned a proposed tax of 5 cents a bullet because the tax in some cases would have exceeded the price of ammunition.
If approved by the board, the nation's third most populous county with nearly 5.2 million residents could be the first major U.S. metropolitan area to impose a tax as a form of gun control, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
One of the fears expressed by conservatives and libertarians after the Supreme Court's surprise upholding of Obamacare was that if the imposition of mandatory health insurance could be considered a tax, then anything could. And since Congress has the power to tax, period, that would give the government virtually unlimited power.
But we're not exactly new to the idea of the "power to tax" is the "power to control" are we? It's a political truism that you tax whatever you want less of, and politicians have been using that ability forever. This may be the first time for the use of "tax as a form of gun control," but it's not likely to be the last.