Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Steve Chapman: Wronger Still On Cook County’s Gun Tax

So, remember yesterday when I (ahem) gently chided libertarian columnist Steve Chapman for his hyperbolic reaction to Cook County, Illinois’ $25.00 tax on sales of firearms? Yeah, well, my point was the tax, designed to help defer the cost of treating hundreds of gunshot wounds per year at the county’s Stroger Hospital, was reasonably related to, you know, guns and all, and, as such, was the kind of tax state and local governments impose all the time.
And that’s true. But I didn’t realize that Chapman was being more than just whingey about the tax. As it turns out, he was really shooting from the hip, factually speaking. You’ll pardon the expression.
Chapman, you may recall, described the tax this way:
It’s a demagogic gesture that has nothing to do with curbing violence. Gangs and other participants in the illegal gun trade are not likely to buy from dealers, since felons are barred from such purchases. And if someone with a clean record wants to buy a pistol to embark on a spree of robberies, the $25 fee isn’t likely to deter him. The misnamed violence tax will mostly penalize the non-violent.
Hm. “Gangs and other participants in the illegal gun trade are not likely to buy from dealers”? Sounds legit. But yesterday at, independent journalist Martha Rosenberg reported:
2,370 crime guns were traced to just one gun shop in suburban Chicago between 1996 and 2000. Over 1,300 were traced since 2008 and 20 percent of all Chicago crime guns used within a year of purchase were traced to the same shop. Yet far from being shut down as a virtual ATM for crime guns, Chuck’s Gun Shop, in Riverdale, has actually brought suit against Cook County calling a $25 gun tax that went into effect April 1 unfair.
By the way, that Chuck’s Gun Shop? The gun shop to which, according to Martha Rosenberg, authorities traced 2,670 guns used in crimes since 1996? Yeah, the very article Chapman linked to in his piece specifically refers to those guys:
Last month, a group of Chicago area firearms dealers and owners — including the well-known Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale — sued over the tax, saying it violates their constitutional rights. They asked a judge for an injunction, but Cook County court records show no action has been taken in the case.
So, let’s review. Chapman says the gun tax is stupid and ineffectual and will only burden lawful gun owners and not the bad guys who use guns to commit crimes. Except that Chuck’s Gun Shop, the well known local establishment that’s suing to enjoin the tax – the gun shop that’s specifically mentioned in the article Chapman links to – put over 2,600 guns on the streets that ended up being used in crimes over the past 17 years.
Which, Steve, kind of undermines your argument, n’est-ce pas?
But, you know, it’s not like Steve Chapman should do any research before he spouts off. Rugged individualist libertarians don’t do research, man. Research is for takers.
[Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]


  1. Funny how these arguments about inconveniencing law-abiding citizens keep coming up, isn't it? See my latest post:

    Fallacious Reasoning

  2. Many of these people are the same ones who are good with making people jump through various hoops to VOTE.

    How do you spell hypocrisy? R-e-i-KKK-w-i-n-g.