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Old August 29, 2014, 08:45 PM   #1
DHJenkins
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I never realized how nefarious the $200 tax stamp was.

$200 doesn't really seem like much now, but I was watching a show yesterday and came across a startling fact while doing some research.

The stamps have been $200 since 1934!

To bring that home, the average yearly wage in the US in 1934 was $1,600 and the average house price was $5,700.

That's about 1.5 months wages for the stamp - at a time when a new gun was less than $30.
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Old August 29, 2014, 08:50 PM   #2
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Let's hope they don't get the idea to adjust it for inflation
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Old August 29, 2014, 08:50 PM   #3
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Yep, it was meant to tax the items into oblivion. We should consider ourselves lucky (maybe) that it has not been revised.
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Old August 29, 2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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Yep and thats a big reason NFA items are becoming more and more popular inflation has brought it to a downright reasonable price.

Edit: zoom6zoom, better believe its been talked about but fortunately our politicians don't have the stomach for it.
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Old August 29, 2014, 09:07 PM   #5
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They're scared to touch the NFA any tampering with it could result in an unwelcome rider.
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Old August 29, 2014, 09:08 PM   #6
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I'll go ahead and give you the next epiphany: Every $ cost associated with the ownership, possession, or bearing of arms is really only there to make keeping and bearing arms prohibitive.
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Old August 29, 2014, 09:53 PM   #7
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For grins I put $200 in 1934 dollars into an inflation calculator and it says that's $3,555.97 in 2014 dollars.
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Old August 29, 2014, 10:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'll go ahead and give you the next epiphany: Every $ cost associated with the ownership, possession, or bearing of arms is really only there to make keeping and bearing arms prohibitive.
+1. Bright ideas for laws from the Brady Bunch/CSGV/VPC/MAIG/etc tend to also add to the time involved and sheer hassle factor of legally buying & owning firearms. I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that it's not a coincidence.
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Old August 29, 2014, 10:19 PM   #9
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Inflation isn't a very good marker. To put that $3555 dollars (vs $200) into perpective, the avg car price in 1934 was $650.

In 2014, the average car price is $32,000.

If you tie the two together, it's more like $9,800.
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Old August 29, 2014, 11:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHJenkins
That's about 1.5 months wages for the stamp - at a time when a new gun was less than $30.
The reason $200 was selected was because that was the price of the Thompson submachinegun on the market. A "Tommy Gun" without the fancy "Cutts Compensator" on the barrel was $180.00 and WITH the Cutts it sold for $200.00.
It effectively doubled the price.
The Tommy gun was never a commercial success because of the fact of the price, even without the obnoxious tax. As you say a new gun was maybe $30.00. Plus the fact that the gun chewed through ammo like crazy; most people were pretty happy with a good lever action, bolt gun, pump shotgun, or even a semiauto rifle which were beginning to show up on the market. Few people wanted to pay that grand sum for a heavy, clunky gun that would be also expensive to feed.
It was really WW2 and the military's need for a submachinegun that saved the Thompson from the ash-heap of history.
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Old August 30, 2014, 12:20 AM   #11
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Yup, it's the only tax I know that a government hasn't raised.
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Old August 30, 2014, 02:37 AM   #12
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Ok everyone shut up before someone gets a "bright idea" to raise more taxes on us.
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Old August 30, 2014, 10:13 AM   #13
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There has already been plenty of talk of raising the tax and yes, the statists would love to price firearms ownership out of reach of the average citizen
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Old August 30, 2014, 10:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Trent View Post
Ok everyone shut up before someone gets a "bright idea" to raise more taxes on us.
Unlikely to happen
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Old August 30, 2014, 09:31 PM   #15
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Inflation isn't a very good marker.
Actually, the consumer price index (from which he got his inflated price) is really a pretty good indicator since it takes more than one thing into account when considering relative cost burden or buying power. I would rely on it.
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Old August 30, 2014, 10:14 PM   #16
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For many people just getting into Title II firearms, $200 seems like an awful lot. But just point out to them how much it was back in 1934, and things change perspective.
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Old August 31, 2014, 11:18 AM   #17
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How would you feel about a tax to go to church or to speak or to exercise any other right
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Old September 1, 2014, 10:55 AM   #18
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The tax shouldn't be there to begin with, but that is another thread...

In 2013, the relative value of $200.00 from 1934 ranges from $2,760.00 to $50,200.00.

A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is $3,480.00. This answer is obtained by multiplying $200 by the percentage increase in the CPI from 1934 to 2013.

This may not be the best answer.

The best measure of the relative value over time depends on if you are interested in comparing the cost or value of a Commodity , Income or Wealth , or a Project . For more discussion on how to pick the best measure, read the essay "Explaining the Measures of Worth."
If you want to compare the value of a $200.00 Commodity in 1934 there are three choices. In 2013 the relative:
real price of that commodity is $3,480.00
labor value of that commodity is $8,410.00(using the unskilled wage) or $10,600.00(using production worker compensation)
income value of that commodity is $20,100.00


If you want to compare the value of a $200.00 Income or Wealth , in 1934 there are three choices. In 2013 the relative:
historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is $3,480.00
economic status value of that income or wealth is $20,100.00
economic power value of that income or wealth is $50,200.00


If you want to compare the value of a $200.00 Project in 1934 there are four choices. In 2013 the relative:
historic opportunity cost of that project is $2,760.00
labor cost of that project is $8,410.00(using the unskilled wage) or $10,600.00(using production worker compensation)
economy cost of that project is $50,200.00



Citation
Samuel H. Williamson, "Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present," MeasuringWorth, 2014.
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Old September 2, 2014, 12:52 AM   #19
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According to my research it was 3 months average household income (inflation and purchasing power adjusted).

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Old September 2, 2014, 06:56 AM   #20
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The $200 tax is the cheap part. Buying a pre 86 registered MG is the $$$ part.
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Old September 2, 2014, 07:26 AM   #21
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Just to add some perspective, I bought my first MG in 1975 for $750. (It was a WW2 Thompson.) At the time, you could buy a nice Springfield rifle for less than $200. So the $200 transfer tax was not totally insignificant. But the hassles of getting the CLEO signature, getting fingerprinted, etc., were more significant. (Trusts for NFA purposes, of course, were unheard of at the time.)

And for further perspective, I sold that Thompson about ten years later for $1,250. I thought I was making a tidy profit.

Money doesn't mean as much today as it did as recently as 30 years ago.
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Old September 3, 2014, 03:37 PM   #22
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The tax was designed to keep firearms out of the hands of minorities and poor folks. Handguns were originally included, but they were deleted in favour of "silencers".
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Old September 3, 2014, 04:01 PM   #23
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The tax was designed to double the cost of a military grade weapon on the civilian market. That would be similar to the price of an m4, ak74, or Kriss Vector today. Who knows what that price tag might be if those items were sold openly and legally on the market today. I suspect it would be considerably less for an AK and considerably more on the vector with the m4 in between. Either way the tax would be inflated to a degree but likely not to that magic number of 3480
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Old September 3, 2014, 04:43 PM   #24
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The original bill sent to Congess by the Roosevelt administration, imposed registration and a transfer tax on ALL firearms and ammunition. It was the brainchild of a raving lunatic named Homer Cummings, who was Attorney General under FDR. (What is it about that office that brings out the lunacy in its holders?) IIRC, here are the figures:

Double or single barrel shotgun - $50
Center fire rifle - $100
Rimfire rifle - $50
Handgun - $200
Machinegun - $1000
Shotgun shells - $.50 each
Rimfire rounds - $1 each
Center fire rifle rounds - $5 each
Center fire pistol round - $20 each

Congress eventually passed essentially what we have today as the FFA in 1934 and the NFA in 1938; the laws were combined and added to in GCA '68.

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Old September 3, 2014, 04:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim K View Post

Double or single barrel shotgun - $50
Center fire rifle - $100
Rimfire rifle - $50
Handgun - $200
Machinegun - $1000
Shotgun shells - $.50 each
Rimfire rounds - $1 each
Center fire rifle rounds - $5 each
Center fire pistol round - $20 each
If Hillary wins, she will appoint Bloomberg to run the ATF and appoint Feinstein as Attorney General and they will pass these taxes into law.
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