10/10/2012

Chicago official floats 'violence tax' on gun purchasers

Illinois lawmaker hopes the measure will curb crime

By PoliceOne Staff

CHICAGO — An Illinois lawmaker wants to implement a so-called "violence tax" on guns and ammunition sold in Chicago and surrounding areas, hoping it will curb crime.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle created a budget to be introduced Oct. 18 that includes the tax, which is of an unspecified amount, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Preckwinkle's idea is "consistent with our commitment to pursuing violence reduction in the city and in the county," her chief of staff Kurt Sommers told the paper.

Officials have tried similar measures before. In 2007, then-Commissioner Roberto Maldonado proposed a tax as high as 50 cents per bullet, and another bill from earlier this year floated a statewide tax on ammunition sales.

That bill was blasted by the Illinois State Rifle Association, which in a statement called it "just another scheme concocted by the Chicago Machine to punish law-abiding firearm owners."

Chicago's homicide rate is up 25 percent this year, though the numbers from September decreased 30 percent compared to September of last year. Overall, shootings have declined for five consecutive months.

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