FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new 11% tax on guns, gun parts, and ammunition continues to sit on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, as supporters for the bill rallied in Sacramento Thursday.
The extra cost would likely be passed on to consumers when it begins starting in July 2024.
AB 28 was passed by California lawmakers on Sept. 7 and would impose the 11% tax on gun, parts, and ammo manufacturers and dealers, not directly consumers, when it begins starting July 1, 2024.
In the heart of the valley, the owner of The Firing Line in Clovis says his shop, and others, would have to pass that extra cost onto their customers.
“11% is, that’s a substantial amount of money. That’s 3$ higher than the state sales tax. So, you’re talking about 19% tax on guns and ammunition,” said The Firing Line’s owner, Jake Belemjian.
Newsom has until Oct. 14 to sign or veto the bill.
Belemjian said he wouldn’t be surprised if the governor signed the bill, and that the new tax will amount to nothing but smoke and mirrors.
“The problems seem to be just as bad as they’ve always been. And yet, they continue to do the same things over and over again,” said Belemjian. “It’s patently dishonest. They’re lying to the, they’re lying to the public and saying, ‘we’re fixing the problem’, you’re not doing anything,” he said.
AB 28 itself says the tax money will go directly to the “Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Fund,” which would be established in the state treasury.
That money would go to gun violence prevention, education, research, and investigation programs.
Organizations like Fresno’s Advance Peace could get funding if the bill is put into law.
“Gun violence is a reality. So, it’s important we do everything in our power to reduce it. By all means. So, this opportunity for funding is something that’s needed throughout the state,” said Aaron Foster, program manager for Advance Peace.
Foster says programs like theirs will have to apply for tax revenue funding if the bill were to pass.
He also added that while this is seen as a political issue, everyone should be on the side of safety.
“I’m happy that this opportunity exists for that reason alone. I would hate to have to watch another person bury a child. And my mission is to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening,” said Foster.