SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Jerry Costello II has filed legislation that would prohibit local governments from placing their own taxes on guns and ammunition.
House Bill 4348 would prohibit the addition of any new tax, fee or other charge beyond the normal sales tax. It also would invalidate such existing taxes, and it would apply to both home rule and nonhome rule units of government.
“At the end of the day, obviously I believe the right to bear arms is a constitutional right,” said Costello, D-Smithton. “I don’t believe that communities have the right to make defending yourself a socio-economic issue, and the less fortunate have just as much of a constitutional right to defend themselves as every other citizen in the state.”
Todd Vandermyde, the National Rifle Association’s legislative liaison for Illinois, said the NRA supports Costello’s bill.
Vandermyde said Cook County has a $25-per-gun tax in place, and the Cook County Board recently passed an ammunition tax that will go into effect in the new year.
That tax will charge a penny per cartridge on rimfire rounds, such as the popular .22 long rifle cartridge, and 5 cents per round on centerfire ammunition, such as common handgun cartridges including the .38 Special and 9 mm.
Costello’s bill, which was filed Dec. 2, is assigned to the House Rules Committee.
A spokesman for the Cook County Board president’s office said he would decline comment until that office’s legislative staff had reviewed the bill.
Illinois News Network’s messages seeking comment from the gun control groups, including the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, were not returned Dec. 11.
The bill is “something I’ve introduced in the past, and I hope to be able to call it on the House floor,” Costello said. “We have had opposition in the past, and obviously it’s been [from] the more liberal groups in northern Illinois.”
Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said he supports the bill and has signed on as a co-sponsor.
“I don’t want to see that sort of thing spread, although I’d really tend to believe no one in their right mind in downstate Illinois – no city or county government – would pass these [taxes],”he said.