KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Wash. Democrats deem ammo a ‘privilege’ as way to end gun rights

Jan 9, 2024, 6:27 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

ammunition tax...

Shelves of gun ammunition on store shelves of West Coast Armory North, a sponsor of The Jason Rantz Show. (Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show)

Washington Democrats opened the 2024 legislative session with another assault on gun rights. This time they hope to reclassify ammunition as a “privilege” — one that should be subject to an onerous tax because the one thing they love more than taking away guns is taking away your money.

State Representatives My-Linh Thai and Liz Berry, both Democrats, introduced House Bill 2238. Under the auspices of public safety, claiming access to ammunition is the cause of violence and not their soft-on-crime policies that go easy on criminals (including those who use guns in their crimes), the bill imposes an 11% sales and use tax on ammunition statewide. This would be an additional tax on top of the sales tax and any other tax that may levied when purchasing ammunition. The city of Seattle, for example, imposes a per-round tax.

But the bill also reclassified ammunition, claiming you do not have a right to purchase them as a consumer. Instead, it’s labeled a “privilege.” The legislation creates a new section in pre-existing law that reads, “A use tax is levied on every person in this state for the privilege of using ammunition as a consumer at the rate of 11% of the selling price.”

Neither Reps. Thai nor Berry responded to inquiries asking the basis for their claim that ammunition is a privilege. But Washington Democrats have set the stage to make this outrageous claim.

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Setting the stage for gun bans

Washington Democrats have consistently moved to make gun ownership more onerous for non-criminal Washingtonians. The end goal for Democrats is to ban guns so that we cannot protect ourselves against the criminals they embolden.

Instead of a flat-out ban against guns, they’ve hoped to reclassify ammunition as a privilege by severely restricting how much of it a gun owner can use at a time. The Washington Legislature approved a bill to prohibit the sale, distribution, and manufacture of firearm magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This is meant to set the precedent claiming Washingtonians do not have a constitutional right to ammunition.

Like most of their clearly unconstitutional bills, they’re based on a flimsy and purposefully obtuse understanding of the right to bear arms. The Washington State Constitution, Article I, Section 24, clearly states that “the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired.”

You cannot bear arms if the firearm has no ammunition in it. This provision, like the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, implicitly includes all necessary components of firearms like ammunition as essential to the protected exercise of the right to bear arms. Without access to ammunition, the right to bear arms would be rendered meaningless, as firearms without ammunition are unable to fulfill their intended purpose in defense of oneself or the state.

Democrats sell the most guns and ammo

In an ironic twist, Democrats are the best gun salesmen. Their actions are pushing Washingtonians into purchases they might not otherwise make.

Washington Democrats’ interest in banning guns does not extend to the criminals they support with legislation that keeps them out of prison before the end of their sentences under the claim the criminal justice system is racist. By passing legislation that is clearly tied to the rise in crime, they give every Washingtonian ample reason to purchase firearms for self-defense. We have a rise in violent crime in Seattle, where homicides have hit historic highs. Democrats pretend they hold no blame in this new reality.

Democrats don’t hide their support for criminals. They have even moved to go easy on drive-by shooters and end gun enhancement charges.

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Democrats support gun rights for felons, though

State Reps Tarra Simmons and David Hackney pushed a bill in the 2022 legislative session to lessen charges against drive-by shooters. It would even be applied retroactively to release a drive-by shooter serving time.

They claimed the change promoted “racial equity in the criminal legal system” because they implied too many black people commit drive-by shootings and it’s unfair for them to be charged more than white people who don’t commit as many drive-by shootings. It was as silly an argument as it was racist. Only after considerable public pushback, spawned by my appearance on Fox News, did the bill die. But it seems reasonable to want a firearm to protect yourself when you have pro-criminal legislators pushing dangerous bills.

State Rep. Roger Goodman, another anti-gun Democrat, is back this year with HB 1268. It would prevent judges from offering additional years of prison to violent criminals who use guns during their crimes (“stacking” on gun enhancement charges). It even offers “good time credits” (or earned release time) to felons serving time on a firearm or deadly weapon enhancement. Any one of these criminals released early is reason enough to own a firearm of your own.

And their silence on the rise of antisemitism across the state, as their supporters scream for the destruction of the state of Israel and the defense of Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters,” Democrats have given local Jews reason enough to arm themselves. When they speak of Jews as Nazis would, there’s reason for Jews like myself to be concerned.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Rantz: Wash. Democrats deem ammo a ‘privilege’ as way to end gun rights