California Lawmaker Wants to Raise Taxes On Gun and Ammo Purchases

The price of guns and ammunition might go up if one California lawmaker gets his way. 

Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) has proposed a new bill that would add a new fee to purchases of guns and ammunition in California to fund a grant for more counselors and safety officers at California's more than 1,400 schools.

In a release announcing the bill he authored, Cooper says the School Gun Violence Prevention Act would allow more high schools to decide whether they wanted to employ a safety officer on campus. 

“It sickens me to think about all the kids who have lost their lives in the school shootings that are plaguing our country. Arming teachers is not good public policy and shouldn’t be considered,” Cooper said.

Cooper authored the bill following a shooting at a Florida high school last month that left 17 people dead. 

“A lot of these kids have trouble, especially in the middle school and high school years, and we really want to target them,” Cooper said. “Because of budget cuts, a lot of school don’t have counselors. This is a way to fund counselors and really identify these kids.”

AB 2497 doesn't provide specific numbers yet on how much the tax would be on firearms and ammunition sales, but it does lay out how that money would be spent: 

 This bill would require that revenues collected from the sales of firearms be deposited in the School Gun Violence Protection Fund, which the bill would create. The moneys in that fund would be continuously appropriated to the Department of Justice to provide grants to schools to fund the placement of police officers on high school campuses. This bill would also require that revenues collected from the sales of ammunition be deposited in the School Gun Violence Prevention Fund, which the bill would create. The moneys in that fund would be continuously appropriated to the Department of Justice to fund the placement of counselors required by this bill on middle school and junior high school campuses.

Many schools across California already have armed school resource officers, but the new fee would allow give more high schools the flexibility to decide if they should add additional security to their campus. A 2004 report from the U.S. Department of Education included by Cooper in the release, showed that of the 37 incidents of school violence, nearly three-quarters of attackers felt bullied, threatened, or attacked. 

Critics say the new law doesn't make sense. 

"Not everybody who buys a firearm and ammunition is going out and shooting up a school," Palmer Bailey, who works for Guns Direct in Burbank told KFI's Monica Rix. "The vast majority of legislators in California don't like guns, and they don't like people who own guns or want to own guns and this is just another way to discourage you." 

Cooper disagrees with critics saying that bill allows schools to provide counselors who would have the opportunity to "identify potential threats and help prevent school tragedies." 

“I believe that strengthening support services and counseling for students is critical and can help aid and support kids, helping keep them and their peers’ safe,” Cooper said.

Photos: Getty Images

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