Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is slamming proposed legislation (A.9563) that would establish an excise tax on ammunition purchased in the state, costing sportsmen an extra two to five cents per round. These funds would be deposited into a gun violence research fund, and while proponents of the legislation argue hunters and others who enjoy shooting sports should contribute to efforts that mitigate harm caused by firearms, Hawley argues such a tax would be an unconstitutional, onerous burden that infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers.
“If tomorrow it was proposed that the faithful be made to pay to freely worship, or that anyone who wanted to espouse a controversial opinion be taxed in order to mitigate the consequences of them doing so, such bills would be dismissed with disgrace,” said Hawley. “When we take our oaths of office to protect and defend our U.S. Constitution as state lawmakers, we make a commitment to defend the document in its entirety, so it’s a shame the Second Amendment has become something members of the Majority feel can be consciously ignored in their policymaking.
“While those in support of this bill argue that taxing ammunition by just a few cents a round does not place a substantive financial burden on sportsmen, the implementation of financial barriers of any kind to exercise constitutional rights sets a dangerous precedent that could enable the nickel-and-diming of our fundamental liberties in the future. This latest attempt to stifle criminality by inconveniencing the law-abiding may be the most dangerous we’ve seen in some time, and I’d encourage this bill’s sponsors to reflect deeply on the implications its enactment could have on the protection of their favored rights within our constitution.”