Virginia U.S. Rep. Beyer Drafting Legislation for 1,000 Percent Tax on Assault Weapons

Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) has a potential workaround to the Senate filibuster that blocks Democrats from significant gun control reform: he’s drafting legislation to enact a 1,000 percent tax on assault weapons, first reported by Business Insider.

“What it’s intended to do is provide another creative pathway to actually make some sensible gun control happen,” Beyer said, according to Insider.

In the wake of a mass shooting and murder at a Texas school last month, there’s increasing pressure on Democrats, who technically control Congress and the presidency, to take significant action to appeal to voters ahead of the 2022 elections.

Democrats control the House of Representatives, but any legislation the House passes is largely ceremonial with only a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate not enough to exceed the 60-vote filibuster threshold. As a tax, Beyer’s legislation could potentially be passed through budget reconciliation, requiring only a simple majority in the Senate.

Beyer is also running for re-election in November, but Virginia’s 8th Congressional District has voted overwhelmingly Democratic in recent years.

GOP challenger Karina Lipsman told The Virginia Star that the focus should be on mental health.

In a statement, Lipsman said, “The rise of gun violence is absolutely heartbreaking, and we must take serious action to address the root of the problems in our society contributing to this. Sadly, Don Beyer’s proposal is nothing more than political lip service. The answer is not to raise taxes and think the problems will go away. You don’t stop car accidents by raising taxes on cars. Raising taxes is what politicians do when they fail to govern: it’s an uninspired easy out that some consultants on K Street said would look good in a press release.”

Lipsman said that in the 1970s the government closed mental health facilities, which has driven a modern mental-health crisis with a lack of hospital beds for mental health patients and a high number of incarcerated people with mental health problems.

“This problem will only continue to get worse if political leaders do not have the courage to act. It’s disappointing that as the most prosperous country in the world, we have neglected the important and ever-growing issue of mental health. As a Member of Congress, I will make addressing mental health, not raising taxes, a top priority,” her statement said.

Democrats and a few Republicans are also considering other gun-related legislation; The Star asked Lipsman if she would support proposals like expanded background checks or red-flag laws.

“I’m still evaluating everything, because everything’s coming out so quickly,” Lipsman said. “So right now, that’s really what our standpoint is: just learning more about it and understanding what these policies are about.”

– – –

Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Don Beyer” by Congressman Don Beyer. Background Photo “Gun Shop” by Michael McConville. CC BY 4.0.


Related posts