Measure Would Impose Excise Taxes on the Sale of Guns and Ammunition, Use Proceeds to Fund School Safety and Violence Intervention Programs
- Dana Alpert
- Legislative/Communications Assistant
SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, the California State Assembly advanced legislation that would impose a new excise tax on firearm manufacturers, firearm dealers, and ammunition vendors in the State of California. The proceeds from these taxes would be directed towards efforts to better protect Californians from mass shootings and gun violence, including school safety measures as well as violence intervention and prevention programs. Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), Chair of the Legislature's Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, Assembly Bill (AB) 28 secured the votes of more than two thirds of legislators.
“It’s shameful that gun manufacturers are reaping record profits at the same time that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for kids in the United States,” said Assemblymember Gabriel. “This bill will fund critical school safety measures and proven violence prevention programs that will save lives and protect communities across California.”
The tax, which is estimated to raise over $160 million annually, will channel funds to the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program as well as school mental health services and safety measures, firearm investigation and clearance rate initiatives, firearm relinquishment programs for domestic abusers and other prohibited persons, trauma-informed services for victims of gun violence, and firearm safety education.
“This bill is a transformative approach in tackling gun violence and a crucial step to improve the safety of all California families,” said Renia Webb, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are grateful for our gun sense champions and community partners who worked so hard to pass this comprehensive bill that seeks to make our communities safer and target the root causes of gun violence. We urge the Senate to do the same so we can prevent senseless acts of gun violence from tearing our communities apart."
“This is a time of crisis and challenges—with surging gun sales and violence nationwide—and also opportunity and progress as California leaders continue to lead the way on gun safety reform that is driven by evidence and real impact,” said Mike McLively, Policy Director for Giffords. “Assemblymember Gabriel has been a consistently strong champion working to make California safer for all who call it home. We look forward to continuing to work with him to strengthen California's investment in violence prevention programs, strengthen protections for survivors of domestic violence, and get California back on the path of expanded safety and opportunity for all.”
Since this bill was introduced, the United States has experienced hundreds of mass shootings, including horrific incidents in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. The surge in gun violence comes as firearm purchases rose to record levels in 2020 and 2021, with more than 43 million guns estimated to have been purchased. At the same time, gun manufacturers have recorded record-breaking profits, noting that the growth they have experienced in recent years has been “nothing short of remarkable.” A 2022 report documented a 269% increase in the firearm and ammunition industry’s estimated economic impact from 2008 to 2021 and an 11% increase from 2020 to 2021 alone.