Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama, Gun Salesman of the Year

My brother in Georgia called to tell me about the rumor that Obama's stimulus bill will include a 500% tax on ammunition. The only news item I could find that mentioned this was a story out of South Bend, Indiana:
"People are getting ready for the inevitable," said Leonard Grummell. "They realize that Barack Obama has the ability to sway legislation." . . .
"With a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, it's a real possibility and probability people would be unable to purchase several types of firearms or ammunition," said Grummell. . . .
"Obama has stated publicly that he will ban firearms, collect firearms, tax firearm ammunition over 500 percent," said Grummell.
Grummell is owner of Len's Gun Shop in South Bend. And while this was the only solid news item mentioning the 500% tax angle, if you'll Google a bit, you can see that the idea turns up on various Web forums. Is there any factual basis? Unknown.

However, there is abundant evidence that gun owners are stocking up in anticipation of draconian regulatory action by Obama and the Democratic Congress. Gannett News Service:
Even without his economic stimulus plan, President-elect Barack Obama has already helped one segment of the economy: the gun business. . . .
Nationally, the FBI reported completing more than 1.5 million background checks for gun purchases in November, a 41.6 percent increase over November 2007, when the agency performed just over 1 million background checks.
People are snapping up rifles, handguns and ammunition and applying for more concealed-weapons permits, which allow people to legally carry a loaded firearm in most places.
"We can't even keep [guns] in stock," said John Massa, owner of pawnshops in Brevard County, Fla. "They're trying to get them before they put the squeeze on."
Outdoor Wire columnist Jim Shepherd:
In recognition of the unprece­dented demand for firearms by nervous consumers, The Outdoor Wire has named President-elect Barack Obama its "Gun Salesman of the Year". For me, it was a simple fact of recognizing that without President-elect Obama's frightening consumers into action, the firearms industry might be suffering the same sort of business slumps that have befallen the automotive and housing industries. . . .
Manufacturers are months behind on orders for semi-automatic pistols, AR-style rifles, and anything with so-called 'high-capacity' magazines, buyers we've surveyed across the country seem to have a single explanation for their rush to purchase firearms -- Obama.
Hats off to the Cold Dead Fingers Coalition, helping to keep the economy strong!

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine.


  1. It's not uncommon for liberals ideas and actions to have to opposite effect that they intended. On the ammunition front, learn how to reload and stock up on supplies. It's much more cost efficient. Stacy, I hope you bought yours.

  2. There is a certain logic to it.
    After cranking out the sin taxes on cigarettes and booze, the kleptocracy has to look elsewhere for loot.
    Why not jack the ammo tax?
    It's only 'fair', or something.

  3. It's almost certainly not in the stimulus bill. What Kirby may be remembering (or heard from someone else with a mixed-up memory) is that an NRA ad did note that Obama has backed a prohibitive 500% tax on ammo and released an ad to that effect. That prompted a few rounds of "FactCheck" claims, summed up here at The Volokh Conspiracy by Dave Kopel. Salient part for the original source of this claim, a black Chicago paper from the late-90s:
    The FactCheck gives the NRA a rating of "Uncertain" to "Increase Federal Taxes on Guns and Ammunition by 500 Percent" and "Close Down 90 Percent of Gun Shops in America." Both these statements, FactCheck correctly reports, come from a newspaper report of Obama's 1999 description his gun control plan. (Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999.) (At the time, he was running for the U.S. House of Representativs.) FactCheck notes that Obama has not pushed for these proposals since his election to the Senate, and adds, "We asked the Obama campaign about his position on an ammunition tax but have received no response."

    “Uncertain” is an awfully generous label, Obama-wise. Obama clearly announced he supported the particular policies. He has never said that he has changed his mind on those policies. His campaign was specifically offered a chance by FactCheck to say whether Obama had changed his mind, and the campaign refused.

  4. I just got through skimming through the online posted copy of the stimulus bill. It does not contain any tax increases of any kind. I recall seeing no mention of ammunition either.

  5. We need to not let down our guard here. That being said, Obama seems to have this new mission of being a Lincoln-type healer. We may be able to escape some of the liberal lunacy because of it. Just as TR brought the progressive movement out of the Republican Party, Obama may be bringing a moderate movement out of the Democratic Party. But also remember what happened to Taft in 1912.

  6. hat happens when he starts taxing reloading supplies like powder and primers? The powder tax you could almost get around by using black powder (and making your own). Granted you would not have as much power in the load, but needs-must.

    But I am unaware of a safe reliable way of manufacturing your own primers. We'll need to smuggle them in.

  7. Rorschack:
    You could buy enough reloading supplies now to last 4 years. If he enacts a tax afterwards, then so be it, we'll be set.

  8. PostalMed:
    Earmarks and riders get added at the last minute. You'll never know exactly what will be in the bill until it is signed.

  9. TR's big mistake was not running in 1908. He loved being president more than anyone that ever held the office. While I don't agree with some of his progressive policies, at least you know he wouldn't be anti-gun. IIRC, he even had a fist fight in the NY Assembly. How cool is that? We could use a little entertainment from our politicians and a spine as well.

  10. As I see it the problem is not Obama per se. The problem is that there are a ton of gun control advocates in the democratic party and they control the House and Senate. Obama will not buck them if they pass the AWB or any other gun control measure. The AWB was reintroduced last year and has at least 6 republicans on board. The balance has shifted and there is no check to stop it.

  11. "We'll have to smuggle them in."

    And that is the Unintended Consequence most likely to follow a prohibitive tax or substantive attack on private gun ownership. Black markets in weapons and ammunition have run rampant anywhere in the world they could make money.

    The other thing that is likely to happen is related to what the ex-KGB analyst, Pantarin, suggested would be the end of the United States - states and industries could decide to withhold collected tax revenue. The "mid 2010" scenario concludes that Washington, D.C. would fold too fast for IRS or courts to make collect.

    I wish one phrase were more common. Billll's Idle Mind is where I ran across, "mass shootings happen in gun-free zones for a reason." That, and "the reason the Santa shooter killed 8 people was not because he had a gun - because he was the *only* one that had a gun."

    I wonder what the direction will be with the IRS under The One.