Warren Gun Plan: Tax Them, Take Them, Turn Right into Regulated Privilege

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, shown here at a CNN Town Hall event, has a grand scheme for guns and their owners if elected president in 2020. (Screen capture, YouTube, CNN)

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Having surged lately in the polls, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is again touting her gun control agenda that includes licensing of gun owners, waiting periods, increasing taxes on guns and ammunition, limiting firearm purchases, raising the minimum purchasing age, banning so-called “assault weapons” and full capacity magazines.

This was all spelled out in a detailed proposal bylined by Warren at Medium.com some weeks ago, and now it is coming back into focus thanks to a brief mention at CNSNews.com.

There are so many points to the Warren gun control plan that it takes a while getting through them. But a quick read reveals that Warren can’t tell the difference between a constitutionally-protected fundamental right and a government-regulated privilege. Here are the highlights, in her own words:

“When I am president,” Warren writes, “I will send Congress comprehensive legislation containing our best ideas about what will work to reduce gun violence.

“It starts by ensuring that safe, responsible ownership is the standard for everyone who chooses to own a gun. We’ll do that by:

  • Creating a federal licensing system. States with strict licensing requirements experience lower rates of gun trafficking and violence. A license is required to drive a car, and Congress should establish a similarly straightforward federal licensing system for the purchase of any type of firearm or ammunition.
  • Requiring universal background checks. I’ll expand background checks via executive action — but Congress should act to permanently mandate universal background checks. And I’ll push Congress to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allows a sale to proceed after three days even if the background check is not complete.
  • Increasing taxes on gun manufacturers. Since 1919, the federal government has imposed an excise tax on manufacturers and importers of guns and ammunition. Handguns are taxed at 10% and other guns and ammunition are taxed at 11%. These taxes raise less in revenue than the federal excise tax on cigarettes, domestic wine, or even airline tickets. It’s time for Congress to raise those rates — to 30% on guns and 50% on ammunition — both to reduce new gun and ammunition sales overall and to bring in new federal revenue that we can use for gun violence prevention and enforcement of existing gun laws.
  • Establishing a real waiting period. Waiting periods prevent impulsive gun violence, reducing gun suicides by 7–11% and gun homicides by 17%. Over the past 5 years, a national handgun waiting period would have stopped at least 4,550 gun deaths. The federal government should establish a one-week waiting period for all firearm purchases.
  • Capping firearms purchases. About one out of four of firearms recovered at the scene of a crime were part of a bulk purchase. Congress should limit the number of guns that can be purchased to one per month, similar to a Virginia law that successfully reduced the likelihood of Virginia-bought guns being used in criminal activity.
  • Creating a new federal anti-trafficking law. Congress should make clear that trafficking firearms or engaging in “straw purchases” — when an individual buys a gun on behalf of a prohibited purchaser — are federal crimes. This would give law enforcement new tools to crack down on gun trafficking and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
  • Raising the minimum age for gun purchases. I’ll extend existing age requirements to virtually all sales, but federal law is currently conflicting — for example, a person must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed dealer, but only 18 to purchase a rifle. Congress should set the federal minimum age at 21 for all gun sales.

Questions immediately arise:

What other constitutionally-enumerated fundamental right requires obtaining a license before it can be exercised by a U.S. citizen?

Since when have criminals bothered with background checks, “universal” or otherwise? Doesn’t this amount to a back-door registration system?

Is it constitutional to place a burdensome tax on the exercise of a fundamental right? There is nothing in the Bill of Rights about smoking, making wine or flying on an airplane. There is something there about the right to keep and bear arms.

What other constitutionally-protected right requires a waiting period before it may be exercised? Should there be waiting periods on “breaking news” reports? How about voting? Perhaps abortion?

Maybe on being able to speak to an attorney if you’re charged with a crime?

What other rights may be exercised only once each month?

Aren’t there already laws against trafficking in firearms? What would a new law do that an existing law doesn’t already accomplish?

If someone can vote at age 18, join the military and be issued a firearm by the government, buy a car, get married, start a business and be considered mature enough to make those decisions, why shouldn’t they be considered mature enough to buy a firearm?

Under Warren’s bylined agenda, “Congress should again ban the future production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons, and require individuals already in possession of assault weapons to register them under the National Firearms Act. Just as we did successfully with machine guns after the passage of that law, we should establish a buyback program to allow those who wish to do so to return their weapon for safe disposal, and individuals who fail to register or return their assault weapon should face penalties.” (Emhasis added.)

Senator Warren also has a dislike of the National Rifle Association, as evidenced by her vow to “break the NRA’s stranglehold on Congress by passing sweeping anti-corruption legislation and eliminating the filibuster so that our nation can no longer be held hostage by a small group of well-financed extremists who have already made it perfectly clear that they will never put the safety of the American people first.”

And, if elected, she will “investigate the NRA and its cronies.” Warren notes the NRA “is accused of exploiting loopholes in federal laws governing non-profit spending to divert member dues into lavish payments for its board members and senior leadership. I’ll appoint an attorney general committed to investigating these types of corrupt business practices, and the banks and third-party vendors — like Wells Fargo — that enabled the NRA to skirt the rules for so long.”

Warren, like other Democrats now running for president, isn’t challenged by the media on any of these points. The same media has adopted the gun prohibition lobby’s lexicon, it appears, by reporting on gun control efforts as “gun safety” or “gun reform.”

Is it time for Warren to face the kind of scrutiny she would apply to citizens hoping to purchase firearms and exercise their rights under the Second Amendment and most state constitutions?


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Dave Workman

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.