PA Bill Number: SB565
Title: In firearms and other dangerous articles, repealing provisions relating to firearms not to be carried without a license, providing for license not ...
Description: In firearms and other dangerous articles, repealing provisions relating to firearms not to be carried without a license, providing for licens ...
Last Action: Veto No. 4
Last Action Date: Dec 2, 2021
Concealed Carry Seminar – Sponsored by Rep. Eric Nelson - 12/7/2021
Word of Life Church 4497 State Route 136 Greensburg, PA
Annual Holiday Party - 12/12/2021
Al's Cafe 440 McMurray Road, Bethal Park, PA
Concealed Carry Seminar – Sponsored by Ambridge District Sportsmen’s Assoc. - 02/26/2022
ADSA Clubhouse 2900 Ridge Road Extension, Baden PA
IL Supreme Court Tosses Cook County Gun & Ammo Tax :: 10/22/2021
For the second day in a row, a state supreme court has delivered Second Amendment supporters a big win. On Wednesday, it was the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision opening the door for legal challenges to local gun control laws, and today the Illinois Supreme Court handed down a 6-0 opinion declaring Cook County’s tax on firearms and ammunition null and void.
This case has been winding its way through the state’s court system for several years, since shortly after Cook County imposed a tax on ammunition in 2015. Three years earlier the county had also put a $25 tax on each firearm sold, with the proceeds from both taxes slated to be used for “operations related to public safety.” There were no specific programs where the money would go, however, which played a big role in the state Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the taxes.
The court did note that Second Amendment rights were being implicated by the tax, but the justices were able to bypass actually ruling on whether or not the tax violated the right to keep and bear arms (and the associated right to acquire them) by basing their opinion on the “uniformity clause” of the state constitution, which declares that “in any law classifying the subjects or objects of non-property taxes or fees, the classes shall be reasonable and the subjects and objects within each class shall be taxed uniformly.”
According to the state Supreme Court, the gun and ammo tax violates that part of the state constitution because “the relationship between the tax classification and the use of the tax proceeds is not sufficiently tied to the stated objective of ameliorating those costs.”
A good ruling, to be sure. But as Justice Michael J. Burke wrote in a concurring opinion, it may not go far enough.
I think Burke has done a pretty good job of predicting Cook County’s response to the Supreme Court decision and the legal fight that’s sure to follow. Cook County will likely go back and revise how their gun and ammo tax revenues are spent with a careful eye towards the Supreme Court’s opinion, and it won’t be long before another case is filed, with Justice Burke’s argument that the state constitution does not allow for special taxes on the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms as the thrust of the challenge.
So yes, today was a good day for Illinois gun owners, but it would have been better if the state Supreme Court hadn’t offered Cook County a way to try to revive its unconstitutional tax. This is the same court that punted on a FOID card case, choosing to send it back to a lower court rather than squarely address the constitutionality of the Firearms Owner ID requirement. That case is now headed back to the Supreme Court, and it’s going to be tough for the justices to duck the issue. I suspect the same thing is going to happen with Cook County’s gun and ammo tax. The county will try to revise it, it will be challenged, and the next time around the state Supreme Court is going to have to answer whether or not the state constitution actually means what it says.