Tuesday, March 18, 2003

In California they're trying to pass a bill that would charge a ten cent tax per round or component of ammunition. Of course, cops are exempt.

"...For purposes of this section, "munition" means a projectile
with its fuse, propelling charge, or primer fired from a weapon, or
any of the individual components thereof..."

I'm not sure what the going rate is in Cali but in Colorado Federal 210 Large Rifle primers are roughly $2.00 per 100. A box of 100 .30 caliber 168 grain BTHP Match will set you back around $20. A pound of IMR 4831 runs around $18. 100 Remington .30-06 Springfield cases will set you back a little over $20.

That comes to roughly 58 cents per round for the first loading, 38 cents a round for the second, third fourth & fifth loadings for an average of 42 cents per round (assuming no more than 5 reloads per case) That equates to $8.40 for 20 rounds compared to $16 per box of Remington 165 grain soft point ammo at Wal-Mart. So it costs a little less than half to roll your own with match grade bullets than it does to buy factory ammo w/o match grade bullets.

So assuming California prices are similar to Colorado, should this tax bill get passed 100 cases would run $30; 100 bullets would run $30; 100 primers would run $12. I shudder to think of each flake of powder costing 10 cents, but let's assume 10 cents per canister.

That's 91 cents per round for the first loading, 61 cents for each subsequent one for an average of .67 cents per round. (Again assuming no more than5 reloads per case) That brings it up to $13.40 per 20 rounds compared to the $18 you'd pay at Wal-Mart for factory ammo.
& the Cali calculations are based on the hope that they don't tax each flake of powder. There's 7000 grains of powder per pound, but powders don't have the same mass or density, so that could equate to 6,800 pieces of powder in one brand, 7,240 in another, & 25,923 in yet another. But just going on the assumption that if they did tax the powder by individual piece I'd assume for logistical purposes they'd round it up to 10 cents per grain by weight. I mean, who wants to spend all day counting how many thousands of flakes are in each pound of gunpowder? So at 10 cents per grain that comes to a $700 tax per pound of powder, increasing the cost per round to $7.91 for the first loading, $7.61 for each subsequent loading for an average of $7.67 per round. (Yet again assuming5 loadings per case) That would mean $153.40 per 20 rounds compared to $18 at Wal-Mart for factory ammo. I hope I am correct in assuming the legislators in Cali are not that far gone, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them tax per grain of powder rather than per can.
To sum up:
$16 per 20 round box of factory ammo w/ softnose bullets
$8.40 per 20 rounds of handloaded ammo w/ match quality bullets
If the tax bill passes this translates into:
$18 per 20 round box of factory ammo w/ softnose bullets
$13.40 per 20 rounds of handloaded ammo w/ match quality bullets
If the new tax means 10 cents per grain of powder:
$18 per 20 round box of factory ammo w/ softnose bullets
$153.40 per 20 round box of handloaded ammo w/ match quality bullets

Either way the ammo & component tax unfairly burdens the reloaders: the ones who for economy or quality control reasons load their own ammo. & let us not forget there are many people who shoot 'wildcat' rounds. Wildcats are cartridges that for one reason or another ammunition makers do not make loaded rounds of. So they have to load their own.

The majority of people who load their own ammo participate in some form of high volume shooting sport. Some hunt as well, but the typical reloader does it simply in order to target shoot more often, target shoot more efficiently, or hunt more efficiently. These are not typically the people involved in drive-by's.

The stated reason for the tax is to help recompense the state for the high cost of violence perpetrated with firearms. It would seem though, that the tax would target gun owners who are at a very low risk of committing gun violence. It's similar to saying that a tax is levied to defray costs from building new roads, but the ones being taxed the most are pedestrians.

California is in a budget crisis & they are looking to tax their way out of it. Gun owners seem to have a small voice in government out there so they are an easy target. It shouldn't be this way, as there are quite enough gun owners in California to make their voices heard, but alas, I fear apathy is the culprit. Then again I have also heard that in California, a situation exists in which the urban centers hold the most political influence & therefore neglect the needs of the rural parts of the state. Same thing occurs in Illinois, where Chicago controls the state, & In Michigan where Detroit usually has the last word. Or so I hear.
California could do other things to help curb the costs of violence & help trim their budget such as encouraging, not arresting people who carry arms for protection, keeping violent offenders in prison for the length of their sentence, stop socializing everything that moves & most things that don't, & perhaps most importantly to the budget, stop spending beyond their citizens means.
But in typical leftist fashion, they choose a means which accomplishes multiple ends: taxing their way out of a budget problem they created while punishing gun owners for crime & discouraging shooting sports by artificially inflating the costs.

My advice to people in California: Nevada, Arizona, Oregon or Revolution.

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