I-Team: State Lawmaker Pushing for Gun Tax

Ed. Note: The national debate about gun violence and gun control has generated strong emotions on all sides following the recent tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado. Should Americans' Second Amendment rights be restricted in the interests of public safety, or is gun violence something that no law could curb? This is Part 12 of Guns of Nevada.

LAS VEGAS -- The national discussion about gun violence is prompting Nevada lawmakers to consider new legislation.

Among the proposals is an excise tax on guns and ammunition to pay for mental health care.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne requested the bill as a way to fund services for the mentally ill and victims of crime.

Although the ink isn't dry on a draft yet, should it pass, gun buyers could expect a tax on guns of between $20 and $25 and a tax on ammunition of 2 cents per round.

Horne, who said he is a gun owner, said he hopes both sides of the gun debate will support the plan, given where the money would go.

The bill is also expected to include several other provisions, including outlawing the possession of armor piercing rounds.

Currently in Nevada, it is illegal to make or sell metal-penetrating bullets, but it is permitted to possess them.

Also included in the proposal is protection from civil liability for those private gun sellers who run a background check. Those that don't could be liable should that firearm later be used in a crime.

Horne said he expects push-back from both sides of the gun debate and looks forward to the discussion.

"I wanted to try to find a middle ground where I thought people could agree," Horne said. "Where the majority of people could say, ‘This seems reasonable.' The tax on the gun, I'm a gun owner, I've gone and bought guns and gone to the firing range. If someone tells me this additional money is going to mental health services or the victims of crime fund, there's a nexus there that I can support."

As of Wednesday, there are more than half a dozen gun-related bills, either proposed or drafted, including a bill to permit guns on college campuses, one to remove the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed weapon and a proposal to expand the mental health information reported to the background check system.


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