The Next Battleground In The Gun Debate May Be Taxes

BY Herschel Smith
5 months ago


I’ve mentioned before—and I say this as a guy who’s pro guns and supports the Second Amendment—that demographics and changing consumer behavior are slowly nibbling away at America’s rich gun culture. I believe that we have seen the high-water mark for that culture and it is slowly receding. I emphasize slowly.

This has less to do with who’s in Congress and how much cash the National Rifle Association is stuffing in lawmaker’s pockets—and more to do with something that is harder to see: the fact that the gun base in the United States skews 1) male, 2) white, 3) rural and 4) somewhat lesser educated—all trends that run counter to an America that is 1) majority female, 2) rapidly urbanizing, 3) more educated and 4) less white (white births are now a minority of all U.S. births) than ever before. Data on these evolving trends can be found in the recent “demographics of gun ownership” study by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization based here in Washington.

Stop.  Quick question for my readers.  Do you like being “lesser educated?”  I’m wondering if the author of the article, Paul Brandus, knows how to do Monte Carlo particle transport analysis and solve differential equations.  I do.

And I’m wondering if Paul actually considers those social “science” degrees from state universities an actual education.  But that’s a discussion for another time.

As these changing demographics and consumer habits gradually erode the still-powerful gun culture, its political base is likely to erode as well. Like water running downhill, this is the natural order of things. And if you take this reality and layer it on top of another one—namely, the ongoing fiscal pressure that states and cities across the country constantly face—it suggests that guns and ammunition could be increasingly seen as an undertapped source of revenue.

There are precedents for this. Tobacco, a ubiquitous product half-a-century ago, gradually became politically easier to target and tax as demographics and changing consumption patterns gradually weakened a once all–powerful and unassailable industry.

This culminated in a massive 1998 agreement between tobacco manufacturers and 46 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, in which the industry agreed to pay billions of dollars a year to those jurisdictions. Those costs were generally just passed on to the declining number of Americans who smoke, which helps explain why cigarette taxes are always going up. This revenue is addictive as nicotine to states, which need every penny they can get; Of course, all this is on top of the current federal tax of $1.00 per 20-pack of cigarettes.

This isn’t to say that the firearms industry isn’t taxed already. Of course it is. But taxes generally haven’t budged in a long time, and are narrowly applied. There’s a federal excise tax of 10% on handguns and 11% on long guns for the import and production of firearms and ammunition—but this hasn’t changed since the tax was first implemented literally a century ago, in 1919. And you may be surprised to know that only two states, per a RAND Corp. analysis, impose special taxes on guns and ammo above and beyond standard sales taxes: Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The former tacks on a $3 surcharge on firearms, while the latter has a $0.10 tax for use, possession, and sales of shotgun shells of metallic cartridges.

[ … ]

Some gun owners say such taxes are an infringement upon their Second Amendment rights. Defenders claim that like tobacco and alcohol, guns can sometimes incur broader costs upon society and therefore must be paid for through usage and consumption fees. Both points of view have merit; this often acrimonious debate will never end.

I don’t see firearms as having any cost at all on society.  I see moral maladies such as rejecting God’s law as having a huge sociological penalty, but Paul’s worldview is likely not amenable to this sort of thought.

Either way, he’s right about one thing.  The “debate” (as he calls it) is acrimonious now, and I can guarantee it will become more so should we be seen as an “untapped source of revenue.”

Prepare for that move as the next step in the multi-front war, gentlemen.  We’re taking enfilade fire.


  1. On May 17, 2018 at 12:50 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Self-defense is a God-given right, one not amenable to human modification. Full-stop. Non-negotiable. Questions?

  2. On May 17, 2018 at 2:08 am, Greg Wilson said:

    I’m afraid that the author you cite confuses state imposed brainwashing with education. Compared to our forebears I don’t believe that we are actually much less educated, but far more brainwashed.

  3. On May 17, 2018 at 6:19 am, MN Steel said:

    Well, he’s dead-on with the first problem mentioned each time: Demographics.

    Too bad the attitude of most is “not my problem, I got mine and I’ll be dead anyway, it’s inevitable this will happen” but it is what it is…

  4. On May 17, 2018 at 6:59 am, ragman said:

    Demographics certainly matter but the real problem is not necessarily with Americans, it is a problem because of immigration. Legal and illegal. Third world invaders have absolutely no background in freedom and liberty. They see nothing wrong with cops and the military being the sole possessors of firearms. Republicans are indeed the stupid party. They are insuring their own demise by not doing whatever it takes to stop all immigration, right now. The “less educated “ folks that I know are making sure that their children and grandchildren are given a foundation in the freedom and liberty to be found only in our country. All is not lost but it certainly will be if the invasion is not stopped.

  5. On May 17, 2018 at 7:47 am, bob sykes said:

    “lesser educated” like the author, for example. Grammarians, if there are any left, must despair.

    As to demographics, how you noticed how old (elderly?), white and male the attendees at gun shows are?

  6. On May 17, 2018 at 8:31 am, SGT.BAG said:

    In my simple mind if you don’t own and carry a gun in today’s world you are without a doubt less educated.

  7. On May 17, 2018 at 8:43 am, BAP45 said:

    Feels like a new term needs to be coined to describe these times, “Cold Civil War”

  8. On May 17, 2018 at 8:51 am, Gryphon said:

    Demographics is EXACTLY how (((they))) plan to Destroy White, Christian America and its Culture. ‘Demonizing’ Gun Ownership is an Important step; I won’t be Surprised to see Propaganda Campaigns aimed at the (illegal) ‘hispanic’ population along the lines of “Turn In someone with a Gun and get Amnesty” or the like… Also, these Invaders always Vote near 100% for Socialism, since it’s what Destroyed the ‘countries’ they came here from.

    And, “…Monte Carlo particle transport analysis”… That’s the Quantum State of Mice; It’s How they Get Into Anything, and Disappear when the Light is turned On..

  9. On May 17, 2018 at 10:56 am, Bill Robbins said:

    Since gun owners are “lesser educated,” I would think we would qualify for some kind of educational tax credit. At the very least, we deserve a discount on guns and ammo, so we can get more edumacation.

  10. On May 17, 2018 at 11:21 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Data on these evolving trends can be found in the recent “demographics of gun ownership” study by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization based here in Washington.”

    Pew isn’t non-partisan; they’re left-leaning, like most of the D.C. organizations conducting demographic and other surveys these days. Consume their data, analyses, and output – so warned.

    Or, as Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) said, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”….

  11. On May 17, 2018 at 11:23 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ BAP45

    “Feels like a new term needs to be coined to describe these times, “Cold Civil War”

    Someone, specifically conservative talk-show host and commentator Dennis Prager, has already done so. Prager has used that very description on the air numerous times since the Obama years. FYI…

  12. On May 17, 2018 at 11:35 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Ragman

    “Demographics certainly matter but the real problem is not necessarily with Americans, it is a problem because of immigration. Legal and illegal. Third world invaders have absolutely no background in freedom and liberty. They see nothing wrong with cops and the military being the sole possessors of firearms.”

    Precisely the reason the left labored so hard to pass the Immigration Act of 1965. America, as then constituted, would not consent to Cultural Marxism. The left contrived the way to get Americans to lower the drawbridge and admit the diaspora of the third world into this country, and Congress passed it, enacting it into law. Adios, traditional America.

    In pre-1965 America, would-be immigrants from the third-world received a lower priority than Europeans in applying to come to the U.S. After 1965, this was reversed – and since then, the U.S. has sent European immigrants to the back of the line while bringing third-world immigrants to the front of the line, which is where we are now.

    All of which suits the Democrats and the left just fine. You’d think that waging demographic warfare upon your own homeland and nation would be a criminal offense, but here we are.

    It should be said that the diaspora of the third-world are much more acclimated to tyranny and to the “strong man on a horse” than traditional Americans are, but that’s precisely the point. It is why the powers-that-be want those people here in the first place. A people who welcome their chains are so much easier to enslave than those who do not.

  13. On May 17, 2018 at 11:37 am, Rocky said:

    That makes two of us that knows how to do Monte Carlo particle transport analysis and solve differential equations…it’s not about demographics but rather being brainwashed here or back from wherever you come from. I am from Puerto Rico, freedom lover who decided to move from there 20+ years ago for the reason that I could not defend myself or my family. I have raised 2 young men who love freedom and, as I do, will be willing to defend it with our lives. Molon Labe.

  14. On May 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm, BAP45 said:

    Ah… That may be how it got in my head. Or hey maybe just thinking alomg the same lines and reaching the same conclusion. Prager puts out some good videos. Thoughtful and not bombastic.

  15. On May 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm, JoeFour said:

    Georgiaboy61 noted that “…the left labored … hard to pass the Immigration Act of 1965…”

    So true … but what is obscured from view and hidden from common knowledge is the dominant and leading role the American Jewish elite played in getting the 1965 Act written and passed. It is no exaggeration to say that that Act alone is responsible for systematically changing the United States from a 90% white country to what we have today … and what we will have in short order–a minority white country.

    This may appear to be off-topic to the gun issue per se but when one considers that white men are the primary supporters of the 2nd amendment (and really everything that is the legacy of traditional Christian American values) its relevance and importance should be crystal clear.

    Anyone interested in the (infuriating!!) details should read “The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements” by Kevin B. MacDonald.

  16. On May 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm, Marshall said:


    “4) somewhat lesser educated”

    My earned doctorate in Chemistry says otherwise, although I am guilty of being in the male, white and rural categories. I am also trying to introduce other more diverse members of our country to “America’s rich gun culture” to make sure it doesn’t die.

    As I get older, I am afraid that I getting less polite when dealing with gun control supporters. A personal failing that my wife thinks I need to work on. Its just that sometimes a firm “hell no” is needed to properly convey my disdain to their desire to infringe on my God given rights. Regrettably, I fear the time is coming when words my not be enough.


  17. On May 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm, H said:

    JoeFour: while Jews played a decisive role in the 1965 act, interestingly German Emanuel Celler rather than an Eastern European one was the point man on the cat, you can’t ignore our first major “importation” from beyond the Hajnal line, Irish starting before the Civil War. The informal name for that act is the Hart-Celler act, Philip Hart being Irish.

    While our host cogently points out these people wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if enough men hadn’t listened to the poison … well, I have to wonder about people like me who were in short pants when the act was passed, I certainly didn’t have any input to offer at that time….

  18. On May 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Joefour, @H,

    What y’all say is without a doubt true. But it’s rather like lazy animals playing in the river near the Serengeti and blaming the Crocs for coming to eat them. It’s what Crocs do. There will always be Crocs near us. If it isn’t these Crocs, it will be others. Jews, Africans, whites, Russians, far easterners, etc. If the Jewish elites didn’t enslave you, the Chinese are waiting in the wings, or the Russian mob, or Muslims. You get the picture. Always expect it. Lazy animals get eaten. Your life won’t be peaceful when you fend off this gaggle of Crocs. There are others right behind them.

    “There is none good, no not one.”

  19. On May 18, 2018 at 6:13 am, Ron Johnson said:

    I don’t think demographics are an accurate proxy for projecting the future of the ‘gun culture.’ The fastest growing segment of gun ownership is women. Who’d a thunk? Skin color is hardly a determinant, either, because there is nothing that says black or brown skin changes the desire for self-protection, or to enjoy the sport of shooting. That past demographics made gun ownership a by-and-large white male affair does not mean it must always be so. Legal restrictions (gun bans in places like Chicago, and federal laws that prevent people convicted of non-violent behavior like selling pot) weigh heavily on the black and brown communities. That may not always be the case as laws change or people migrate.

    What I am more concerned about than demographics is philosophy. No matter your color, national origin, or gender, if more people believe guns are evil and only the state should have weapons, then the ‘gun culture’ (whatever that is) will fade. We as a people are quickly losing our understanding of individual freedom (it is not taught in schools, and it is not projected in the media). With that will come subservience, and ultimately disarmament, regardless of demographics.

  20. On May 18, 2018 at 1:06 pm, Pat Hines said:

    I’ll only speak of South Carolina.

    100% of the black legislators in the South Carolina legislature support gun confiscation, there are no exceptions. I did a brief study of the anti-self defense bills in the “hopper” of both houses here and was actually somewhat surprised at the consistency of black legislators position. I have their names for our “watch list” should folks want to see them for personal verification.

    The one black US congressman from South Carolina supports all gun confiscation bills in the US House of Representatives, he’s as consistent as the state legislators.

    Because black voters put them in office, with help from various university students and faculty, one can hardly make the statement that blacks are as supportive of the right of self defense as are whites. It just isn’t so.

  21. On May 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    It’s true that blacks vote as a monolith, or fairly close (somewhere around 80-85%). It has nothing to do with skin color, and everything to do with world and life view that they’re taught, inculcated from birth. Skin color is a pigment.

    World and life view is determinative for everything. Literally. Everything.

  22. On May 18, 2018 at 4:33 pm, Mack said:

    Here is how I confront any gun-control totalitarian:

    Excuse me, are you a God-fearing man/woman?

    Any answer, other than an immediate “Yes,” tells me all I need to know.

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You are currently reading "The Next Battleground In The Gun Debate May Be Taxes", entry #19245 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published May 16th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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