Toni Preckwinkle proposes firearm tax in Cook County, Ill.


An assortment of rifles and shotguns at a gun expo in El Paso, Texas, USA, on March 13, 2011.



The president of the Cook County Board in Illinois, Toni Preckwinkle, is attempting to convince the county to introduce a new $25-a-gun tax on every firearm sold there, Reuters reported.

“It was very important to us to tax guns – because we know that guns are the source of incredible violence that we have in our neighborhoods,” Preckwinkle, the chief executive of the third most populous county in the US, said at a press conference today, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “And it’s the proliferation of guns that has made the violence in our neighborhoods so difficult to cope with.”

Some 29 percent of the guns used in Chicago crimes are bought legally in suburban Cook County, Preckwinkle said, according to Reuters.

Today she said she was dropping her request to also tax bullets – at 5 cents a bullet – because in some cases the tax would exceed the price of the ammunition, Reuters reported.

If the board approves her idea, Cook county would be the first major US metropolitan area to levy a tax that as a form of gun control, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence told Reuters.

According to Reuters:

Taxes on buyers or sellers of guns and/or ammunition have been proposed but failed in six states, including California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Since the gun tax would only add an estimated $600,000 in new revenues to the county’s $3 billion budget in 2013, it serves mostly as a statement against gun violence, the Chicago Sun-Times said.

Preckwinkle’s proposed 2013 budget contains another $40 million in new or increased fees and taxes to increase county revenues, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.Other new taxes she’s proposing include a 1.25 percent “use tax” on items costing $3,500 or more that are purchased outside of Cook Country but used there; annual taxes on slot machines and video gambling machines; and a dollar-a-pack cigarette tax, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners will vote on Preckwinkle’s tax proposal on Friday, Reuters reported.