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Don Beyer

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Beyer Proposes Filibuster-Proof 1,000% Tax on AR-15s

"What it's intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen," said the Virginia Democrat of the proposal.

Julia Conley

With senators negotiating a gun control package that is expected to leave out a reinstatement of an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks on gun purchases, Rep. Don Beyer is proposing a unique method of keeping AR-15s and similar semiautomatic weapons out of people's hands.

The Virginia Democrat said late Sunday that he's drafting a proposal to impose a 1,000% excise tax on firearms like the ones used by numerous perpetrators of mass shootings in recent years.

"We think that a 1,000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation."

With AR-15s costing between $500 and $2,000, the tax would add up to $20,000 onto the weapons' price tag. The tax would also apply to high-capacity magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition, Business Insider reported, and weapons with one or more military characteristic including a pistol grip, a forward grip, or a folding or telescoping stock—the type of firearms Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are seeking to ban with legislation introduced in 2021.

Beyer said Sunday he believes the proposal could pass with a simple majority in the Senate via reconciliation, allowing it to bypass the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for bills to pass. Right-wing Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have opposed reforming the filibuster, obstructing their own party's agenda since President Joe Biden took office.

"What it's intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen," Beyer told Insider. "We think that a 1,000% fee on assault weapons is just the kind of restrictive measure that creates enough fiscal impact to qualify for reconciliation."

According to Insider, the proposal could be included in a spending bill containing parts of Biden's climate action and taxation agenda.

Beyer said revenue from the tax could go towards a restitution program for family members of people killed in shootings.

The proposal comes two years after Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) proposed a 30% tax on handguns and a 50% tax on shells and cartridges.


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Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·


Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

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