Gun, Ammo Tax in Cook County Struck Down by Illinois High Court

Gun, Ammo Tax in Cook County Struck Down by Illinois High Court

Ammunition tax revenue went to public safety fund Tax violates Illinois constitution uniformity clause Cook County’s tax on guns and ammunition violates the Illinois constitution, the state’s Supreme Court said Thursday, reversing an appellate court ruling that green-lighted the taxes. The county in 2013 enacted a $25 flat tax on firearms purchases, and followed in 2016 with a 5 cents-per-cartridge tax on center fire ammunition and a one cent-per-cartridge tax on rimfire ammunition. The revenue generated from the tax on ammunition is directed to the Public Safety Fund for operations related to public safety, while the revenue generated from the tax on firearms is not directed to any specified fund or program. A state appellate court ruled the tax didn’t violate either the Second or Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and didn’t violate the uniformity clause of the Illinois Constitution. A group, Guns Save Life, Inc., appealed that decision. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the ruling, finding the taxes did violate the uniformity clause of the state’s constitution. The ordinances impose a burden on the exercise of a fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment, Justice Mary Jane Theis wrote for the court. While the taxes don’t directly burden the right to use a firearm for self-defense, they do directly burden the right to acquire a firearm and ammunition for self-defense, Theis said. Under the uniformity clause, the taxes must bear a reasonable relationship to the object of the legislation or to public policy, Justice Theis wrote for […]

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