What are excise taxes


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ar10
January 23, 2009, 02:02 PM
I really hope this doesn't turn into a political bashing. I was at the local cigar store yesterday and and the owner showed me the new excise taxes that go into effect April 9th, everything looks like it's going to quadruple in price. That got me into thinking what exactly is an excise tax. I looked at a couple of places and every definition seem pretty vague. Some of the definitions refer to it as "punishment tax" in order to protect and pay for services harmful to the general public.
I'm just wondering if ammunition and guns could be classified as "harmful to the general public" and how it would impact purchasing ammo and any gun related items. (From what I read they're taxing rolling papers and just about anything that has to with smoking, so I'm guessing everything some cleaning patches to guns could be taxed).

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jcwit
January 23, 2009, 02:18 PM
Quit giving anybody ideas.

Duke of Doubt
January 23, 2009, 02:28 PM
Excise taxes have been imposed by federal, state and local governments on everything from guns and ammunition to telephone calls to cars to cigarettes to fishing tackle boxes to parts of arrows.

They may be imposed on purchases, or on possession. Mainers pay annual excise taxes on their vehicles, based on original purchase price and depreciated over the years. That's the main reason we all drive such old vehicles.

Phydeaux642
January 23, 2009, 02:32 PM
I'm not sure about ammo but guns already have an excise tax on them. That's why an AR is less expensive in pieces than if it is complete from the factory.

Jim K
January 23, 2009, 02:34 PM
It is a tax on goods paid on goods (not income) by a manufacturer within the country as opposed to an import duty paid by an importer on goods brought into the country.

It is not necessarily a "sin tax" but may be used for that purpose.

Politicians impose excise taxes so they can claim to be "taxing big business rather than the common people." In fact, businesses only pass the tax on to their customers, so the "common people" pay anyway but continue to trust the politicians.

Jim

expvideo
January 23, 2009, 02:34 PM
I work for a major telecommunications company, and I can confirm what Duke said about excise tax being imposed against phone calls.

Anyway, they're just taxes on things that the government feels it is entitled to for some reason or another.

Basically they figure that since it's not tea, we probably won't be tossing our cell phones, tobacco and tackle boxes into boston harbour.

Zundfolge
January 23, 2009, 02:37 PM
Taxation is theft.

Officers'Wife
January 23, 2009, 02:42 PM
Hi Zundfolge,

Taxation is theft.

Taxation is payment for necessary public services. However, anything over one penny collected in tax needed for those services is legalized theft. The difference is slight but important.

Selena

isp2605
January 23, 2009, 02:45 PM
There's already an excise tax on guns and ammo. The money from that tax goes back to the states to support things like conservation programs, hunting, fishing, etc.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 23, 2009, 03:11 PM
Don't forget that any tax on arms is an infringement.

Woody

expvideo
January 23, 2009, 03:14 PM
Don't forget that any tax on arms is an infringement.

Woody
I disagree. Any unreasonable tax, like the NFA taxes, sure. But reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them.

ar10
January 23, 2009, 04:03 PM
So an excise tax can simply mean just about anything, gambling, prostitution, ad nauseam. The point is, nearly anything can be taxed to raise revenue. Every definition I read makes it very clear the term is purposely vague. My gut feeling is tobacco and liquor is not the only item that going to go through the ceiling, any weapons related items will too.

There is a difference though. Sales taxes and VAT's are a percentage where excise tax is a fixed amount.

MMCSRET
January 23, 2009, 04:21 PM
Ammunition has an 11% excise tax, paid by the manufacturer, and of course added into the price. And then you have all the state and local taxes on top of that.

gc70
January 23, 2009, 04:21 PM
But reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them.

The question is not about the right to own a product, but the right to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right and the chilling effect of a special tax on the exercise of that right.

Minneapolis Star v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue (http://law.jrank.org/pages/12734/Minneapolis-Star-v-Minnesota-Commissioner-Revenue.html)

Appellant's Claim
That a state special tax assessment on ink and paper used in publication of the Star Tribune newspaper violated freedom of the press.

Decision
Upheld the Minnesota Star's claim and overturned the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision that the special tax did not violate the newspaper's constitutional protections.


Significance
The ruling found that state tax systems cannot treat the press differently than any other business unless substantial justification exists. The state of Minnesota could demonstrate no compelling reason to justify imposing a special use tax on a select few newspaper publishers. Therefore, the tax was in violation of the First Amendment's Press Clause. The ruling was unique in subjecting state laws to strict scrutiny based on mere potential for censorship.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 24, 2009, 12:39 PM
I disagree. Any unreasonable tax, like the NFA taxes, sure. But reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them.

ANYTHING that comes between you and your arms is an infringement. In some cases it can mean the difference between owning and not owning an arm. There are no uncertainties in the meaning of "infringe".

Woody

Art Eatman
January 24, 2009, 02:04 PM
Excise taxes on firearms were asked for by hunters, way, way back, to be used in wildlife management and restoration--particularly restoration. We were danged near out of deer and turkey, in many areas.

Excise taxes for purely revenue purposes (general fund) include such things as the "temporary" tax on cosmetics and telephones, back in WW II.

Lightninstrike
January 24, 2009, 02:09 PM
Amazing what you learn on this forum.

Duke of Doubt
January 24, 2009, 02:25 PM
Actually, the federal communications excise tax, imposed under section 4251 of the Internal Revenue Code, was created in 1898 to pay for the Spanish American War.

zoom6zoom
January 24, 2009, 04:08 PM
I was at the local cigar store yesterday and and the owner showed me the new excise taxes that go into effect April 9th, everything looks like it's going to quadruple in price.
The new cigar taxes are a result of the SCHIP program. You know, the Child's Health Care program that provides health care to people who are not children, poor, or even citizens. Anyway, the tax has been capped at .40/cigar. If this quadruples the price on your cigars, you're not smoking very good ones!

TX1911fan
January 24, 2009, 04:23 PM
gc70, you are correct. If it is a special tax on a constitutionally protected item, it is an infringement. If it is the same tax everyone pays on other items, then it is not an infringement. So sales tax on ammo is not an infringement, a special excise tax is. Too bad few in the .gov or the courts agrees.

expvideo
January 24, 2009, 04:24 PM
ANYTHING that comes between you and your arms is an infringement. In some cases it can mean the difference between owning and not owning an arm. There are no uncertainties in the meaning of "infringe".

So I should boycott the local gun store for not just giving me guns? After all, charging for them comes between me owning them, so it is infringing on my rights, according to your arguement.

Like I said, unreasonable taxes are an infringement. The ATF $200 tax on class III weapons is an infringement. But an 11% excise tax that makes a $10 box of ammo cost $11.10 is not. Because that $1.10 is not keeping anyone from being able to afford the ammo. The $200 tax on class III items was imposed to keep people from being able to afford them.

Reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them. If those taxes are so high that it makes it difficult to afford the product, which would be an infringement, then they are not reasonable taxes.

Look, I don't like paying taxes either, but claiming that you can't reasonably tax guns and ammo because of the second amendment is just silly.

ar10
January 24, 2009, 05:02 PM
After reading the different posts, no one has stated the excise tax charged for anything is regulated. In other words excise taxes can be anything the government wants to charge, in fact any gun related item can be taxed 300 or 1000 times the amount the item is worth just to keep individuals from harming themselves or other people, liquor and tobacco come to mind, I think it's referred to as a "punishment tax".
I can see that as a future strategy with any gun related item and there doesn't seem to be any way to stop it. It's not 2nd amendment infringement because liquor and tobacco has been taxed beyond their profit for years now. It's the simplest way to shut down gun/ammo sales w/o having to go to court.
Now tell me if my argument is misguided or just wrong.

hankdatank1362
January 24, 2009, 05:03 PM
How is taxing guns any different than having to pay a poll tax in order to exercise your right to vote? (Which was summarily declared unconstitutional.)

Who gets to decide what is and what isn't too much to pay in taxes?

It's not a violation of the second amendment; it's a violation of the twenty-fourth. Although, then we get back to the whole "arms are protected, but ammo isn't" tirade.

Duke of Doubt
January 24, 2009, 05:08 PM
A poll tax is different from, say, a sales tax imposed on copying services provided to duplicate campaign literature.

expvideo
January 24, 2009, 05:39 PM
How is taxing guns any different than having to pay a poll tax in order to exercise your right to vote? (Which was summarily declared unconstitutional.)


A poll tax is a tax on an action. A tax on a gun or ammo is a tax on the sale of a product. If it were a tax to own guns (like say you had to pay annually for the right to own guns), then it would be a fair comparison.

There is a tax on gas, even when that gas gets you to the polls. Comparing the excise tax on guns and ammo to a poll tax is just as accurate as comparing a gas tax to a poll tax. It is an unrelated comparison in both cases.

mgkdrgn
January 24, 2009, 06:11 PM
After reading the different posts, no one has stated the excise tax charged for anything is regulated.

Sure it's "regulated" ... by the people that impose the tax! They "regulate" it to what ever they want it to be.

Like the excise tax on your phone bill ... put there to pay for the Spanish American war.

And since we just spent more, in mere weeks, on the "bailout" than we have on ALL of our previous wars combined ... you can bet your sweet bippy that there will be lots and lots more taxes coming!

hankdatank1362
January 24, 2009, 09:49 PM
A poll tax is a tax on an action. A tax on a gun or ammo is a tax on the sale of a product. If it were a tax to own guns (like say you had to pay annually for the right to own guns), then it would be a fair comparison.


Ahhhhh. Good point.

At some point, it has to cross the line, though, doesn't it? Like the old Chris Rock joke about a $5000 tax on ammo?

I guess until it gets REALLY bad, it's just a debate over the semantics of where it crosses the line.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
January 24, 2009, 09:59 PM
A poll tax is a tax on an action. A tax on a gun or ammo is a tax on the sale of a product. If it were a tax to own guns (like say you had to pay annually for the right to own guns), then it would be a fair comparison.

Really that is where you draw the line.

Except to exercise your 2nd amendment right you need a firearms and most people won't build their own so they will purchase them. The TAX on the firearm is a tax on the exercising of a right already guaranteed by the constitution.

Numerous SCOTUS cases in the past have ruled that a tax on a right is unconstitutional.

Murdock v Penn is one example
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murdock_v._Pennsylvania

Penn tried to require the purchase of a license (a tax by any other name is still a tax) because Murdock distributed pamphlets in exchange for donations.

The courts found that Murdock right under the 1st ammendment was a free existing right and COULD NOT BE TAXED by the state.

I think over next 10 years we will see similar challenges against all forms of taxation (other than general untargeted sales tax).

Before Heller there was no standing to bring such a suit. Poll taxes were considered Constitutional for about 150 years in this country.

In the case the state of VA proved that the tax was not unreasonable, not targeted, and the intention wasn't to deprive a right. They also showed that elections are expensive and the tax was used to pay for cost of election. None of those arguments helped. SCOTUS ruled that regardless of the reason a tax on a right is not constitutional.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
January 24, 2009, 10:06 PM
It's not 2nd amendment infringement because liquor and tobacco has been taxed beyond their profit for years now. It's the simplest way to shut down gun/ammo sales w/o having to go to court.
Now tell me if my argument is misguided or just wrong.

You have no constitutional right to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.

The one thing keeping the excise taxes relatively low is that the higher it is the more punative it is and the more likely we get a court case that throws them out for good.

Eventually Congress will get greedy though. The greedier the better. I would love to see a 500% excise tax on firearms. The lawsuit would be filed within days. By keeping the tax low it is less likely someone will feel infringed enough to battle it in court.

misANTHrope
January 24, 2009, 10:11 PM
Except to exercise your 2nd amendment right you need a firearms and most people won't build their own so they will purchase them. The TAX on the firearm is a tax on the exercising of a right already guaranteed by the constitution.

Let's extend this logic back to the poll tax point.

Except to exercise your right to vote you need to get to the polling place and most people live too far away to walk and thus have to put gas in their car to get there. The TAX on that gas is a tax on the exercising of a right already guaranteed by the constitution.

Does this mean that taxes on printing presses infringe on the right to free speech? Or that taxes on curtains infringe on the right to privacy?

The mere existence of a tax does not constitute infringement. On the other hand, if you start talking about a tax levied specifically to discourage or prevent the acquisition of firearms, (like the NFA stamp) then that's a different matter.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
January 24, 2009, 10:46 PM
Except to exercise your right to vote you need to get to the polling place and most people live too far away to walk and thus have to put gas in their car to get there. The TAX on that gas is a tax on the exercising of a right already guaranteed by the constitution.

You can vote without a car. People did for centuries.

However you CAN NOT exercise your right to bear ARMS without ARMS.
By your logic a poll tax is illegal but putting a tax (paid by the voter) on the ballot would be legal.

Would you consider it Constitutional if your state charged you a $10 fee=tax for the ballot?
It's not a tax on voting, just a tax on a required item to vote (kinda like firearm and ammo are required for RKBA).

Does this mean that taxes on printing presses infringe on the right to free speech?
Or that taxes on curtains infringe on the right to privacy?

If the tax is separate and specifically targets a right yes..

A printing press excercise tax would be unconstitutional.

Lets look at a couple more examples. Do you think the following would be constitutional?

11% tax on religious items (i.e. bibles)?
11% tax on books?
11% tax on books unfavorable to the government?
11% tax on news content = press (CNN, FNC, newpapers)?

How about a tax specifically for forums? A license say $500 per year to legally operate a forum like thehighroad?

How about a tax on criminal legal services? Or a tax on bail bondsmen? Would failing to pay your real estate tax allow the govt to quarter troops their until paid?

We aren't talking about a general income or sales tax here. We are talking about a specific tax on an item.

If the goal isn't infringement why does the govt specifically tax firearms? Why not just a 1% excise tax on ALL GOODS AND SERVICES?

We already know infringement is the goal. Everytime tax on tobacco is raised Congress loves to talk about how it will REDUCE SMOKING. What do you think the end goal of taxes on firearms will do?

Please don't say the amount of the tax matter either. Saying that would mean you are fine with a $1 tax on voting.

You take infringement to mean "make impossible" which is a foolish and incorrect view.
Luckily SCOTUS over the years has taken a slightly more realistic view on "infringement". Any costs the govt associates with a right make it more difficult or less likely it will be excercised and that is infringement. In Harper v Virginia Board of Elections, Mrs. Harper PAID THE TAX. She also never proved in court the POLL TAX was unpayable. It didn't matter. SCOTUS found it to be infringement because the existence of the tax makes it less likely (even if only theoretically) the right will be exercised.

I can afford to buy a gun, license it, purchase a permit from the state and my rights are being infringed. You seem to think that because I was able to afford the taxes my rights weren't infringed but SCOTUS believed otherwise.

misANTHrope
January 24, 2009, 11:30 PM
You can vote without a car. People did for centuries.

However you CAN NOT exercise your right to bear ARMS without ARMS.

You can also exercise your right to bear arms without paying the excise tax we're discussing here. I have an AR to prove it.

By your logic a poll tax is illegal but putting a tax (paid by the voter) on the ballot would be legal.

Would you consider it Constitutional if your state charged you a $10 fee=tax for the ballot?
It's not a tax on voting, just a tax on a required item to vote (kinda like firearm and ammo are required for RKBA).

Incorrect. If it was impossible to vote without paying a tax, as in the scenario you describe, then that's different from taxing some firearms.

If the tax is separate and specifically targets a right yes..

This is the core point, and one on which we agree. Taxing a firearm because it's a retail product is one thing. Taxing a firearm because it's evil and will lead to the downfall of society as we know it is quite another.

The problem is that establishing intent can be a difficult thing to do. I'll admit up front that I am not well-versed on the excise tax on firearms. But a quick bit of Googling reveals that the same chapter that imposes the excise tax on firearms also imposes excise taxes on gas-guzzling cars, tires, coal, certain vaccines, outboard motors, tackle boxes, and archery equipment, among other things.

Does this automatically serve as proof that the tax was not intended to infringe a right? Of course not. But in my opinion, the tax does not constitute infringement. I have seen no evidence that convinces me that firearms are being specifically and maliciously targeted with this tax.

:)

ar10
January 24, 2009, 11:55 PM
This is the core point, and one on which we agree. Taxing a firearm because it's a retail product is one thing. Taxing a firearm because it's evil and will lead to the downfall of society as we know it is quite another.

This is the point that concerns me most:
quoted from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excise_tax
Deducing from the types of goods, services and areas listed as excisable by many governments, and considering the thinkers' comments, a logical conclusion might be that excise duty was originally invented for some or all of the following reasons:

* to protect people
o from harming their health by abusing substances such as tobacco and alcohol, thus making excise a kind of sumptuary tax
o from harming themselves and others indirectly and morally by engaging in activities such as gambling and prostitution (see below) (including soliciting and pimping) thus making it a type of vice tax or sin tax
o from harming those around them and the general environment, both from overuse of the above-mentioned substances, and including curbing activities contributing to pollution (hence the tax on hydrocarbon oil and of other environmental taxes, as in the UK), or from harming the natural environment (hence the tax on hunting) - thus also making excise a kind of pigovian tax
* to punish

many US states impose taxes on drugs, and the UK government imposes excise on money laundering and on "visiting forces" (which can, from a legal standpoint, also be interpreted as "invading forces"). These are, clearly, not included in the statute books because the government expects smugglers, launderers and invaders to pay for the right to conduct their harmful and illegal activities, but so that greater punishments and reparations/war reparations - based mainly around tax evasion - can be imposed in the case that the perpetrator is caught and tried. Aside from the extra revenue, this of course can also act as a deterrent.


and the most notable quote is:
Excise tax is notable insofar as how vague its definition actually is - it would be difficult, if at all possible, to find a precise definition explaining what it is that categorizes goods subject to excise tax. Lists of such goods are readily provided by governments, and it is possible to comparatively deduce what motives might be used for grouping such goods together; however, no explicit, formal definition is provided by any one government.


I look at terms like "vague", "to protect people", and "sumptuary tax" plus many more where this type of tax can be pretty much be applied to any the the government wants whether we like it or not.

gc70
January 25, 2009, 12:55 AM
If the tax is separate and specifically targets a right yes.. This is the core point, and one on which we agree. Taxing a firearm because it's a retail product is one thing. Taxing a firearm because it's evil and will lead to the downfall of society as we know it is quite another.


The question is not whether a tax is intended to infringe a right, but whether there is a special tax related to the right.

General sales or income taxes are legal, but a special tax (poll tax) required to exercise the right to vote is not. It does not matter whether the special tax is intended to infringe on the right to vote, the fact that the tax discriminates between a protected right and other activities, and may constrain the protected right, is the deciding factor.

wep45
January 25, 2009, 01:25 AM
what's in a name......
excise tax
poll tax
real estate tax
sales tax
use tax
import tax
income tax
motor fuel tax
Inheritance Tax
property tax
unemployment taxes
workman compensation tax

expvideo
January 25, 2009, 06:27 AM
You can build your own gun without an excise tax. You can assemble your gun from pre-built parts without an excise tax. That means that it is possible to bear arms without purchasing arms, which means that the excise tax is not unconstitutional. Since you can build guns and you can load your own ammo, the tax is on the convenience of buying pre-built guns and pre-loaded ammo.

As long as the tax is reasonable and doesn't increase the price of buying a firearm to the point that it is difficult to do so, it is not infringing.

So again, you have to pay an excise tax for the convenience of buying a gun rather than building it yourself. You could build it yourself and save yourself the tax, but that would be less convenient than having it built for you.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 25, 2009, 09:18 PM
As long as the tax is reasonable and doesn't increase the price of buying a firearm to the point that it is difficult to do so, it is not infringing.

So, there is a graduated scale somewhere that says how much tax infringes and how much tax doesn't infringe? If it isn't excepted in the amendment itself, it isn't allowed. There are no provisions in the Second Amendment to allow an exception for any tax on arms.

The protection of no other right in the Constitution is like the Second Amendment's protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The protection of the freedom of speech and the press is not absolute. There is no right to free speech to be protected from infringement. There is no right to print whatever you want that can be protected from infringement. The protection afforded in the First Amendment vis-a-vis speech and the press is that those freedoms may not be abridged. You are free to say or print what you wish unless it harms someone else.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is absolute and protected in that fashion in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Keeping and bearing arms is harmless, it's benign, and it's innocuous. Speech and what you print for all to see and hear can be harmful to someone. Keeping and bearing all those words in your head is analogous to keeping and bearing arms. Until you open your mouth or put those words on paper, those words are as harmless as the arms you keep and bear.

If speech were a protected right, you could slander and libel all day long and no one could charge you with a crime or sue you. You could lie in court and suffer no consequences. See the difference?

If keeping a printing press were to be protected in the same fashion as keeping arms, then yes, there should be no tax on purchasing a press nor should there be an ad valorem tax on keeping them either.

The guns you can assemble yourself to avoid the excise tax does not mean the gun is tax free. You've paid corporate taxes by proxy and quite possibly sales tax on the components. You'd be better off buying your guns with all the taxes on arms repealed as they should be to bring the sale/transfer of arms in line with the Constitution(the Second Amendment).

Woody

expvideo
January 25, 2009, 09:41 PM
So, there is a graduated scale somewhere that says how much tax infringes and how much tax doesn't infringe?
Where did I say that there was a scale?

If it isn't excepted in the amendment itself, it isn't allowed. There are no provisions in the Second Amendment to allow an exception for any tax on arms.
Like I said, you can build your own firearm or ammunition. You pay an excise on the convenience of having someone else build them for you.

The protection of no other right in the Constitution is like the Second Amendment's protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The protection of the freedom of speech and the press is not absolute. There is no right to free speech to be protected from infringement. There is no right to print whatever you want that can be protected from infringement. The protection afforded in the First Amendment vis-a-vis speech and the press is that those freedoms may not be abridged. You are free to say or print what you wish unless it harms someone else.
Where is it written that the only right in the bill of rights that is absolute is the right to keep and bear arms? They are all equally absolute.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is absolute and protected in that fashion in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Keeping and bearing arms is harmless, it's benign, and it's innocuous. Speech and what you print for all to see and hear can be harmful to someone. Keeping and bearing all those words in your head is analogous to keeping and bearing arms. Until you open your mouth or put those words on paper, those words are as harmless as the arms you keep and bear.
Yeah, that's why the 2nd amendment doesn't give you a right to shoot up a mall and the 1st amendment doesn't give you a right to spray paint your name on the white house.

If speech were a protected right, you could slander and libel all day long and no one could charge you with a crime or sue you.
Just like you can shoot up the mall without consequence?

You could lie in court and suffer no consequences. See the difference?
No. You have said that there is a difference, but you haven't explained why there is a difference. I'm not taking it at face value. You can't bear arms at the bank to get money and you can't tell the teller that you will kill them. Those are not protected by the 2nd or 1st amendment.

If keeping a printing press were to be protected in the same fashion as keeping arms, then yes, there should be no tax on purchasing a press nor should there be an ad valorem tax on keeping them either.
I don't follow. Why not?

The guns you can assemble yourself to avoid the excise tax does not mean the gun is tax free. You've paid corporate taxes by proxy and quite possibly sales tax on the components.
So? Why is sales tax infringing on you rights? Do you think that the government is infringing on your right by not simply giving you a gun? Are the manufacturers as guilty of infringing on your rights for charging you for the guns? After all, if they aren't free, then the 2nd amendment is being violated, right?

You'd be better off buying your guns with all the taxes on arms repealed as they should be to bring the sale/transfer of arms in line with the Constitution(the Second Amendment).

Woody
The 2nd amendment doesn't say that arms must be free, tax free, or anything else. I am free to blog, thanks to the 1st amendment, but that doesn't mean I have a right to neglect my cable internet bill. I have the right to free speach, but there is still an excise tax on my phone calls.

A reasonable tax that doesn't significantly increase the cost of the firearm is not an infringement on your right to own one.

docmagnum357
January 25, 2009, 09:55 PM
so how many of you guys are tax attorneys, or constitutional lawyers? Everyone has made some good points, both ways, but Scotus decides what the constitution means. The president does n't have much say so in the day to day affairs of this country, but he does appoint justices, and fedral judges. this may be the greatest harm Osama bin obama does us.

ar10
January 25, 2009, 10:50 PM
A reasonable tax that doesn't significantly increase the cost of the firearm is not an infringement on your right to own one.

Again, my point is not infringement of rights. SCOTUS has already made that point. What SCOTUS doesn't have any say in is the excise tax that can be put on gun and/or gun related items. They've done it with tobacco, they've done it with alcohol, why not guns as well? By simply putting a high dollar amount on an item in the form of federal excise taxes which drives up the price beyond what a normal person can afford effectively eliminates the product from the consumer. Nothing has been infringed and no law suit to SCOTUS could be filed. I'm not aware of any case regarding any excise taxation ever violating the Constitution.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 25, 2009, 10:55 PM
Where did I say that there was a scale?

You said there is a difference where a tax is reasonable and where a tax is an infringement. I see nothing in the Second Amendment or any subsequent amendment making an exception to the prohibition upon infringing the right to allow for taxation of arms.



If it isn't excepted in the amendment itself, it isn't allowed. There are no provisions in the Second Amendment to allow an exception for any tax on arms.
Like I said, you can build your own firearm or ammunition. You pay an excise on the convenience of having someone else build them for you.

If you have an option to acquire arms excise tax free, it does not excuse any other taxing on arms acquired by whatever other means. The infringements still exist.

Where is it written that the only right in the bill of rights that is absolute is the right to keep and bear arms? They are all equally absolute.

It isn't written. It simply happens to be so. No other right is protected in the same fashion as is the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It's all in how you read and understand the English Language.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is absolute and protected in that fashion in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Keeping and bearing arms is harmless, it's benign, and it's innocuous. Speech and what you print for all to see and hear can be harmful to someone. Keeping and bearing all those words in your head is analogous to keeping and bearing arms. Until you open your mouth or put those words on paper, those words are as harmless as the arms you keep and bear.
Yeah, that's why the 2nd amendment doesn't give you a right to shoot up a mall and the 1st amendment doesn't give you a right to spray paint your name on the white house.
Exactly. You got that part right. It's true because the Second Amendment doesn't protect any use of arms - just the keeping and bearing thereof.

If speech were a protected right, you could slander and libel all day long and no one could charge you with a crime or sue you.
Just like you can shoot up the mall without consequence? Now you've got it all wrong. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is just that - keeping and bearing. There is no protection in the Constitution, including any of its amendments, that protects the unfettered use of arms.

You could lie in court and suffer no consequences. See the difference?
No. You have said that there is a difference, but you haven't explained why there is a difference. I'm not taking it at face value. You can't bear arms at the bank to get money and you can't tell the teller that you will kill them. Those are not protected by the 2nd or 1st amendment.The difference is the Second Amendment does not protect the use of arms, whereas the First Amendment protects the use of words but with limitations. The First = use. The Second = keep and bear. Two separate things are being protected in two separate fashions.

If keeping a printing press were to be protected in the same fashion as keeping arms, then yes, there should be no tax on purchasing a press nor should there be an ad valorem tax on keeping them either.
I don't follow. I don't lead.
Why not?I don't dance with strangers.

The guns you can assemble yourself to avoid the excise tax does not mean the gun is tax free. You've paid corporate taxes by proxy and quite possibly sales tax on the components.
So? Why is sales tax infringing on you rights?It comes between me and keeping and bearing arms. Do you think that the government is infringing on your right by not simply giving you a gun?No. Are the manufacturers as guilty of infringing on your rights for charging you for the guns? The Second Amendment doesn't forbid the manufacturers or distributors form charging for their labor. The only entity forbidden to infringe upon the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is government. After all, if they aren't free, then the 2nd amendment is being violated, right? No, as I just explained why.

You'd be better off buying your guns with all the taxes on arms repealed as they should be to bring the sale/transfer of arms in line with the Constitution(the Second Amendment).

The 2nd amendment doesn't say that arms must be free, tax free, or anything else. I am free to blog, thanks to the 1st amendment, but that doesn't mean I have a right to neglect my cable internet bill. I have the right to free speach, but there is still an excise tax on my phone calls.In light of the foregoing, your response here is moot.

A reasonable tax that doesn't significantly increase the cost of the firearm is not an infringement on your right to own one. When you understand what the word "infringe" means, yes, any tax is an infringement. Then, too, the Second Amendment doesn't say, " ... shall not be unreasonably infringed."

Woody

ConstitutionCowboy
January 25, 2009, 10:57 PM
...but Scotus decides what the constitution means.

Where does it say that in the Constitution?

Woody

ConstitutionCowboy
January 25, 2009, 11:02 PM
What SCOTUS doesn't have any say in is the excise tax that can be put on gun and/or gun related items. They've done it with tobacco, they've done it with alcohol, why not guns as well?

Why not guns? Because government is prohibited to infringe upon the keeping and bearing of arms. If the excise taxes were to be challenged, the Court can and should shoot them down. The Court does have a say when the issue is brought to them.

Woody

Guns and more
January 26, 2009, 12:10 AM
There's already an excise tax on guns and ammo. The money from that tax goes back to the states to support things like conservation programs, hunting, fishing, etc.
Don't be silly. All taxes collected are deposited in the general fund to pay for whatever the politicians want. If conservation programs get some, fine, but it isn't set aside.

gc70
January 26, 2009, 12:16 AM
What SCOTUS doesn't have any say in is the excise tax that can be put on gun and/or gun related items.I'm not aware of any case regarding any excise taxation ever violating the Constitution.

Already discussed in post #14 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5273602&postcount=14) regarding Minneapolis Star v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue (http://law.jrank.org/pages/12734/Minneapolis-Star-v-Minnesota-Commissioner-Revenue.html)

SCOTUS upheld the Minnesota Star's claim that a state special tax assessment on ink and paper used in publication of the Star Tribune newspaper violated the constitutional protections of the freedom of the press.

misANTHrope
January 26, 2009, 01:03 AM
If you have an option to acquire arms excise tax free, it does not excuse any other taxing on arms acquired by whatever other means. The infringements still exist.

This argument, assuming I understand it correctly, is absolutely specious.

Now, what I understand you to be arguing is that any and all taxes imposed upon firearms, or any components thereof, constitutes infringement. I gather that the impetus behind this argument is that these are actions taken by a government entity, which have the end result of increasing the cost of acquiring a firearm.

Ludicrous.

How far does this extend? If a gun shop owner pays property taxes and/or taxes on his company's income, does that constitute infringement? What about manufacturers of guns or parts? What about steel mills and lumberyards? Wholesalers of machining equipment? Janitorial services?

Taxing any of these entities results in a cost increase being passed down the line and eventually to the consumer, which apparently constitutes an infringement upon the RKBA.

Taxes that specifically target firearms, components, and/or ammunition are one thing. Personally, I think that classifying any of those as an infringement requires some inspection and consideration, but I fully recognize that there's a very valid argument against them from an RKBA standpoint.

But to argue that any tax that might conceivably increase the price of a firearm, even if it's a tax on every retail product across the board, strains the bounds of credulity.

ar10
January 26, 2009, 08:37 AM
SCOTUS upheld the Minnesota Star's claim that a state special tax assessment on ink and paper used in publication of the Star Tribune newspaper violated the constitutional protections of the freedom of the press.

That was not an excise tax (federal) it's a tax assessment(state) that went to court. Excise taxation is a very ambiguous and vague law. It's use goes back to the 1500's to the current time by just about every country to pay for wars or just about anything the government wants. In the case of guns, ammo, and gun related items excise taxes could very easily be added to the point where any gun purchase would be out of reach of the general public, it could be increased a thousand percent without violating any constitutional rights. The federal government did it with tobacco, (watch what happens on April 9th) and they can do it with guns.

expvideo
January 26, 2009, 09:31 AM
Now you've got it all wrong. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is just that - keeping and bearing. There is no protection in the Constitution, including any of its amendments, that protects the unfettered use of arms.
There is also no wording protecting the purchase of pre-built firearms from taxation, and in fact there is no provision in the 2nd amendment about the right to "purchase" arms whatsoever. The only rights are to keep, which is not taxed, and to bear, which is also not taxed.

And you like to bring up the Supreme Court. Well the Supreme Court has already ruled that reasonable regulations are not an infringement.

Art Eatman
January 26, 2009, 09:49 AM
Guns and more, the excise tax on firearms goes to the USF&WS. It is then transferred to state wildlife agencies, pro-rated by the number of hunting licenses sold in each state.

gc70
January 26, 2009, 09:31 PM
That was not an excise tax (federal) it's a tax assessment(state) that went to court.

Excise taxes may be state or federal.

From the Minneapolis Star v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=460&invol=575) decision:The State may impose different specific taxes upon different trades and professions and may vary the rate of excise upon various products.

North Carolina General Statutes 105‑113.83. Payment of excise taxes. (http://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_105/gs_105-113.83.html)

The significance of the Minneapolis Star case was that it found unconstitutional a special tax on a Constitutionally-protected right.

ar10
January 26, 2009, 10:58 PM
Excise taxes may be state or federal.

Thanks for correcting that. :( I was looking more into the history rather than current events, however, it sounds like a double whammy. California can add an excise tax along with the federal gov't on guns and gun related items along any VAT they want to add in.
Oh, forgot to correct that excise taxes can be a percentage but is generally a dollar amount. I think it's 16% or something in that ballpark on Alcohol and tobacco. The notice I read pretty much quadruples that on April 9th.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 26, 2009, 11:09 PM
Now, what I understand you to be arguing is that any and all taxes imposed upon firearms, or any components thereof, constitutes infringement. I gather that the impetus behind this argument is that these are actions taken by a government entity, which have the end result of increasing the cost of acquiring a firearm.

Ludicrous.

How far does this extend? If a gun shop owner pays property taxes and/or taxes on his company's income, does that constitute infringement? What about manufacturers of guns or parts? What about steel mills and lumberyards? Wholesalers of machining equipment? Janitorial services?

If a gun manufacturer or dealer pays income tax, that's all that it is. It isn't a sales or excise tax on the gun itself. It's sort of like working for a tax exempt organization. The organization doesn't pay tax but the employees of such an organization will pay taxes on their income. Those organizations will also pay payroll taxes such as Social Security and Medicare, but no income tax.

As for how those excise taxes are used, supporting the hunting/game preservation activities leaves all other activities out in the cold. Where are all the heated/cooled state/federal gun ranges for us regular non-hunting citizens?

In any event, such taxes are an infringement. There are plenty of other taxable activities/privileges that can support hunting/game preservation.

Woody

isp2605
January 26, 2009, 11:41 PM
Where are all the heated/cooled state/federal gun ranges for us regular non-hunting citizens?

Heated? Cooled?
http://dnr.state.il.us/worldshooting/default.html
Nope, way too large for any heating or cooling. No way to heat and cool 120 trap fields, 2 sporting clays courses, 3D archery range, numerous pistol and rifle ranges for various disciplines all on 1500 acres with over 1000 campsites, display buildings. 1500 acres is about 2.3 square miles. But this was built with federal excise tax on firearms and ammo and is open to the public.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 26, 2009, 11:51 PM
I was thinking indoor ranges within short driving distances, like on in every county.:D

Woody

isp2605
January 26, 2009, 11:53 PM
Then buy a lot more guns and ammo. Those definitely aren't cheap.

mgkdrgn
January 27, 2009, 08:46 AM
I was thinking indoor ranges within short driving distances, like on in every county.:D

Woody

I don't know what you've been smokin boy, but I hope you brought enough for everybody. :rolleyes:

ConstitutionCowboy
January 27, 2009, 12:10 PM
I don't know what you've been smokin boy, but I hope you brought enough for everybody.

I did! It's home grown, too! :evil:

Seriously, I was being facetious. It would be nice, though...

Woody

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