Chicago Gun Shops Sue Cook County Over $25 Firearm Tax

by S.H. Blannelberry,  |  published on March 17, 2013

On Thursday, several Chicago-based gun dealers filed a joint lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Cook County ‘Violence Tax’ that’s set to go into effect on April 1, 2013.

As part of a violence prevention package spearheaded by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the ‘Violence Tax’ would require all county residents to pay a $25 tax on every gun they purchase, which the gun dealers argue infringes upon one’s right to keep and bear arms.

“Proponents of the tax have admitted that its purpose is to curb the number of firearms in circulation. The tax thus is intended to deter individuals from exercising their fundamental right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second and the Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and … the Illinois Constitution,” the lawsuit reads.

In addition to arguing that the tax violates one’s Second Amendment rights, the plaintiffs contend that the tax is “excessive and arbitrary.”

“There’s enough taxes on those already — we pay a sales tax. [And] I had to pay $100 to qualify to purchase a gun [the cost of her FOID card] — and I think I’ve paid enough,” Deborah Gowder, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Though, when pushing for the tax last October, Preckwinkle argued that additional money is needed to help combat the skyrocketing violence in places like Chicago’s inner city — with 506 murders, the Windy City was the murder capital of America in 2012.

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