Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Press Release: The San Jose Gun Tax is Unenforceable, Unfair, and Useless




 San Jose Gun Tax:

Unenforceable, Unfair, and Useless


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA (July 5, 2021): It is the official stance of Operation Blazing Sword - Pink Pistols that San Jose's new punitive gun tax is unenforceable, unfair, and ultimately useless. 

Unenforceable: The City of San Jose has no firearms registry. Furthermore, California doesn’t register non-“assault weapon” firearms. Unless the San Jose City Council plans to have the police investigate every single one of its citizen for compliance, they will have no way of knowing who is paying the tax and who isn’t. Instead, the city will have to rely on voluntary compliance. 

Most “gun violence” in this country is perpetrated by career criminals, and Haynes v. United States (SCOTUS 1968) ruled that it is unconstitutional to make criminals register guns. Doing so would incriminate them, a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. Therefore, the criminals whose damage is supposedly offset by this tax are the very same group of people who cannot be expected to pay this tax. So who ends up paying? 

Unfair: San Jose is requiring gun owners who have broken no laws to pay a punitive tax to “offset costs” incurred by criminals who injure or kill people with guns. This punishes the innocent for the guilt of others. There is no justification for forcing the innocent to subsidize the actions of criminals.

Furthermore, the tax burden is uneven. We have no way of knowing how many San Jose citizens own regular firearms; we only have data for so-called “assault weapons”, and there are fewer than 200,000 of them registered in the entire state. San Jose’ population is about 2.5 percent of CA’s. Assuming an even spread across the state, this means only 5,000 citizens out of a city of one million, or about one-half of one percent, will be subject to having this tax burden inflicted on them. 

Speaking of tax burden, how much will this punitive tax be? No one knows yet, not even the City of San Jose. If they base it on California’s reported average of firearm ownership (18%) then they’re going to be taxing one-fifth of the city. In effect, they will be telling their citizens “Because you own a gun, we think you will engage in criminal activities and therefore we’re going to tax you for exercising a Constitutional right.” This is akin to taxing everyone who doesn’t smoke in order to offset the health costs of smokers. Poll taxes were found to be unconstitutional, and so is this, which leads us to our third point. 

Useless: This tax is unconstitutional is and likely to be struck down. Meanwhile, many firearm-owning San Joseans are likely to move out of the city, which will deprive the city of all tax revenue from those people. Furthermore, the revenue gained from this tax will do nothing to prevent crime. Per the San Jose City Council, the funds will be used on responses to crimes, not crime prevention.

In short, gun owning criminals will simply evade the tax and those who do not wish to break the law will likely move away to escape it. This tax is unenforceable, unfair, and useless. 

Operation Blazing Sword, Inc. is a grass-roots 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping queer people become responsible firearm owners through volunteer education.

Pink Pistols, a division of Operation Blazing Sword, is dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the gender and sexual minority community.


Media Contact:   
Erin Palette

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