Monday, September 22, 2003

"A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution... a person cannot be compelled 'to purchase, through a license fee or a license tax, the privilege freely granted by the constitution." — MURDOCK V. PENNSYLVANIA 319 US 105 (1942)

It seems there are some in Colorado who have not read this decision by the Supreme Court or understand its implications.

"Senate Democrats announced plans Wednesday to try to restore funding for two juvenile diversion programs that were cut because of the state's budget squeeze.
Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver, said lawmakers could use federal funds and raise fees on firearm background checks...
Grossman also proposed restoring $1.3 million to juvenile diversion programs operated by prosecutors across the state by using cash from criminal background checks for gun purchases.

So funding for a pet program is cut because the state has fallen on hard times (due mainly to its lack of budget discipline) so this senator wants to hit up on gun purchasers to make up the difference.

But alas, this is nothing new. Colorado has toyed with this idea before. & here are Ari Armstrong's thoughts on the matter when it was discussed back in March.

To quote Mr. Armstrong:

"The right of self-defense, which entails the right to keep and bear arms, is a fundamental human right properly infringed by no legislature. The right to bear arms is recognized by both the U.S. and Colorado constitutions. The notion of imposing a special tax on a fundamental right is repugnant and hostile to the principles of a free society."

& I must include this excerpt from Mr. Armstrong concerning a Denver Post article written by Julia Martinez on March 4th, 2003 (the article is no longer available on line):

""Martinez also explains why the committee suggested a fee of $10 rather than $14.80: '[Colorado Senator Ron]Teck [R-Grand Junction] said he thought it was too big a psychological jump for buyers.' He told Martinez, 'If we go from zero to $14.80, we will have problems'."

& Colorado isn't the only one: California recently considered, but amazingly didn't enact a tax on ammunition & components. Look here & here for previous posts.

Of course my answer to this would be too simple & cost effective to be considered, even though they complain about 'taxpayer' money being used for background checks (when it could go towards their retirement/pet social program fund): eliminate the damned background checks. The state background checks are redundant since all firearms transactions must go through the NICS system which is administered by the FBI. But I'd go one step further: eliminate the NICS checks. The inconvenience & downright harm they cause to non-violent people trying to purchase firearms far outweight the risks to society of people with violent intent being able to aquire firearms, especially since anyone who puts forth a little effort &/or cash can easily find a firearm without having to go through a background check of any sort.

Then again I'd consider myself on a roll & eliminate all firearms laws that dealt with mere ownership or possession, leaving only those that dealt with the discharge of firearms in place. But that's just me, I'm afraid.

I'll try to keep an eye on this, as it'll be coming to a state too close to you if it works here.

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