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CASH Courier > 2003 Spring Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

HUNTING’S CONNECTION TO OUR CITIES: GUN SALES

By Anne Muller

City shootings are always in the news. One recent NY Post headline screamed on April 4th:

N.Y. GUN SHOP SHOOTS TO 3RD ON CRIME-WEAPON LIST

“…The NAACP says gun-makers shouldn’t sell to dealers whose weapons are used in crimes, but the manufacturers say they sell only to licensed distributors….”

“Gun supplier told to pay widow 1.2 million” – (widow of a teacher gunned down by a 13 year old student in West Palm Beach, FL)

More recently, a 14-year-old boy, carrying 3 handguns walked into a crowded school cafeteria and shot and killed the principal and himself. The news report read, “The school district is grieving the loss of our beloved junior high school principal, Dr. Segro, and the student involved,” said Larry Macaluso, Red Lion Area [PA] superintendent. “We will continue to make plans to deal with the rest of our students, the staff and our parents and have them work through this.”

Hughes said the student brought the revolvers from his home, where they had been locked in a gun safe. He said he doesn’t foresee any criminal charges against the boy’s parents relating to the weapons.

The .44-caliber Magnum, .357-caliber Magnum and .22-caliber revolvers were legally registered in the student’s stepfather’s name, the chief said. York County Coroner Barry Bloss said the principal and student had only one bullet wound each. The principal was shot in the chest with a .44-caliber handgun, and the student died from gunshot to the head from a .22-caliber handgun, authorities said.

According to another article, injuries from gunshots result in $802 million a year in hospital charges nationwide, with nearly a third of the victims uninsured. According to the report, gunshots were the leading cause for uninsured hospital days in Allegheny General Hospital. In a national study, it was concluded that there were an estimated 35,800 firearm-related hospital admissions nationwide.

Never are the details of who really benefits from gun use presented. It is impossible for the public to take appropriate action without seeing who benefits. I’ve been told that you have to hear something eight times before it sticks. This is about the 10th time we’ve written about this important subject, but here goes again:

Let’s scream louder:

“CRIME GUNS” PAY INTO THE CONSERVATION FUND TO SUPPORT HUNTING

WHAT’S THE FINANCIAL CONNECTION BETWEEN FIREARMS AND HUNTING?

There is an 11 % excise tax on all firearms and ammunition, and bows and arrows. Handguns carry a 10% excise tax. Since the Office of Homeland Security was formed, the collection of the tax is no longer done by the BATF – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. It is now carried out under the name “Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.” The excise tax on firearms is totally obscured by this new title. The excise tax on firearms and ammunition ends up in the “Conservation Fund” where it is used to promote the use of firearms and ammunition, and bows and arrows, via hunting.

SO, WHAT’S THE CONNECTION TO CITIES?

Tax on guns and ammunition used in city crimes involving humans ALSO pays into the Conservation Fund BECAUSE THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between handguns or other firearms used in cities and those used in the country. There is no ALSO NO DIFFERENCE between bullets used in the city and those used in the country. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN TAX TREATMENT.

WHO’S BENEFITING FROM CITY GUN CRIME?

Firearms manufacturers, state wildlife management departments, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please do not confuse the wildlife departments with the larger environmental agency such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, or New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, or Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources, or Florida’s Department of Natural Resources. Try to separate the Department from the agency, because when we target these departments we want to aim at the right place. To attack an entire agency is beyond our scope, and we do not have grievances with other divisions of these agencies that work on air, water, and land quality. The division of Wildlife is actually partially self-funded and self-serving. It operates on behalf of the firearms industry and a small special interest group. Small is right, hunters are only 4% of the population in NY, less than 2% of the population in Florida, and 5% nationwide!

Anytime there has been a legislative attempt to use a portion of the Conservation Fund for victims of gun crime, the bill has been “shot down.” As it stands, victims of gun crime have only their insurance to compensate them. GAME AGENCIES BENEFIT FROM HUMAN BLOOD AND MISERY AS WELL.

HOW IS THE FIREARMS EXCISE TAX DIFFERENT FROM OTHER EXCISE TAXES SUCH AS THOSE ON ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO?

One difference is that the firearms tax is dedicated and the others are general. The firearms excise tax pays into the Conservation Fund and can only be used for the promotion of the use of firearms. Alcohol and Tobacco Excise taxes pay into the GENERAL FUND and are used to pay for education, health care, housing, and all the good things that the government does for the general public with the money.

Also, there is no division or department dedicated to the proliferation and use of alcohol and tobacco that pays itself with taxes from a dedicated fund. In fact, it is comical to imagine this. Yet that is the case with firearms. Imagine if the excise taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco were dedicated, and a division set up to exclusively use the taxes. The sole purpose of the division would be to get the public to drink or smoke. Their job would be to create drinking and smoking “opportunity.” Personnel would have to pay themselves from the excise taxes collected from the manufacturers and importers of alcohol and tobacco. The Fund could be used for no other purpose than to perpetuate the use of alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Their constituency would be organizations calling themselves something like the “NAA” standing for the “National Alcohol Association,” and there would be such groups in existence as “Drunks Unlimited,” “Wisconsin Drunks for more Alcohol,” and “Drunkards for Drunk Driving.” There would be higher class organizations such as Naturopaths for Sipping Rights, and National Imbibers Society. They would all come together to defeat bills that would threaten their recreation and to promote bills that would loosen restrictions on alcohol and tobacco. Anyone or any group that tried to limit the use of alcohol or tobacco would be called a “terrorist organization,” and they would push for Drinkers’ and Smokers’ Rights bills in every state. Anyone trying to talk them out of drinking or smoking would be subject to arrest or fine for drinker or smoker harassment. Sadly, they would find legislators who would bow to the pressure of the loud special interests. Some legislators (many) would truly identify with them, and proudly announce that they are one of them. There would be a “Drinkers’ and Smokers’ Caucus” in Congress.

GUNS IN THE CITY PROMOTE
MORE HUNTING IN THE FORESTS

REMEMBER THIS PLACE...?

Sunset for Sunset Sporting Goods

It’s the gun shop owned by Ulster County, NY Legislator, Fawn Tantillo. Under the flag is a huge sign that reads, “Going Out of Business Sale.” Unfortunately, it was draped over by the flag after the invasion of Iraq. There is a less prominent sign on the right. Does anyone want to buy this place? After it’s cleaned up, it might make a good vegetarian restaurant.

If that’s not amusing enough, then imagine a department of an agency that is dedicated to promoting cigarette and alcohol use. They might call themselves the Dept. of Smoking and Drinking Management (DSM or DDM). Their sole purpose is to encourage people to smoke and drink, and to provide smoking and drinking opportunity. They would encourage legislation that would prevent the banning of smoking and drinking from such places as hospitals and doctors’ offices, certainly from restaurants, bars, and universities, schools and even nurseries. Newborn infants will be given lifetime smoking and drinking permits. Anyone who doesn’t allow smoking or drinking in the house will be labeled a “domestic terrorist” to be dealt with. This division would pay its personnel through the sale of cigarette and alcohol permits, and excise taxes on those items. Money from the Smoking Fund, for example, could not be used to pay for lung cancer victims. That money would have to come from the General Fund. All of the Department’s expenses for advertising, lawsuits, postage, etc. would also come from the General Fund. Additionally, the General Fund of a state would have to pitch in a 25% matching amount to its excise tax allocation from the Federal Smoking or Drinking Fund. The excise tax that the state smoking and drinking fund receives will depend on how much smoking it actually causes within the state. So, competition will be set up among states to cause the most cigarette or alcohol use. States will have to compete with each other to sell the most cigarette and drinking licenses in order to get a larger pro-rated share of federal money. That will also increase their matching amount.

Imagine further how that might work. Let’s say the states get together so that each state can get what it wants and needs (or is willing to settle for). Let’s say that states try to attract more smokers than their state numbers allow. For example, suppose Arkansas comes up with a cigarette that is only sold in Arkansas. It’s an Albanian import and Arkansas has an exclusive with the company. Through smoker –oriented magazines, the Albanian cigarette is advertised. Smokers wishing to expand their horizons must travel to Arkansas to smoke this brand. They have to pay more for their smoking permit because they are out-of-state smokers who are there to smoke the Arkansas Albanian cigarette.

Rhode Island now makes an exclusive deal with a Bulgarian cigarette company and begins to promote its cigarette through a PR company paid for with general fund dollars. Their goal is to bring in out of state smokers who are willing to pay a premium to smoke the Rhode Island Bulgarian cigarette.

If you are rolling over in the aisles now, do you still think it’s funny that this is close to the way in which wildlife management agencies work? No self-respecting taxpayer would tolerate a division, department, or unit of an agency that exists merely to promote itself. Nor would they tolerate the siphoning off of public funding to this entity that contributes nothing to the society but problems. Yet this is exactly what the firearms industry is doing via wildlife management agencies.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RAMIFICATIONS?

When bills are pending to limit firearms use, you have government agencies lobbying to oppose them behind the scenes. [I have witnessed the outright lobbying by hoards of wildlife managers where they actually took a break during a conference to run outside to the phones to call their legislators on bills that would allow for more hunting opportunity.]

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The financial link between wildlife management agencies and the firearms industry must be severed. These agencies must begin to operate on behalf of wildlife and the general public. There are excise taxes that can be placed on non-consumptive items such as canoes, birdseed, feed, cameras, and so on. There are also financial arrangements that can be made with companies that benefit from the non-consumptive enjoyers of wildlife. We need creative thinking. The fund that is now dedicated to firearms use must be re-evaluated by legislatures and Congress, and an investigation into the practices and policies of wildlife management must begin.

Please spread the word. Copy this information and pass it along, especially pass it to schools. Many of those who have massacred their classmates and teachers were either young hunters or children of hunters.

WHO WILL OPPOSE YOUR EFFORTS?

Pro-gun organizations; Pro-hunting organizations; Government game agencies

WHO WILL SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS?

Victims; Doctors; Health Insurance companies; hospitals, NAACP; Anti-gun organizations; Anti-hunting organizations

THERE IS HOPE

Wal-Mart Ends Gun Sales in California – Reported on CNN.com 4/8/2003

Wal-Mart agreed to stop selling guns in all of its 118 California stores after nearly 500 violations of state firearms laws were found in six stores, the Associated Press reported April 5.

According to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, one Wal-Mart store in the state sold guns to felons in two separate instances, while another released guns to customers before background checks were completed.

Other violations included failure to verify the identities of buyers through thumbprints and driver’s licenses, and failure to document sale of firearms-safety devices with guns.

Last year, Wal-Mart implemented a new policy that requires customers to undergo a background check before buying rifles and shotguns, no matter how long the check takes. The action was taken after the retail chain’s own research found that weapons it sold were being used in crimes.

BUT…THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE

According to a BBC report on April 4, 2003, it says: “…Congressional Republicans have renewed their efforts to pass a bill that will grant gun companies immunity from prosecution in the courts. The bill, which has just been approved by the House Judiciary Committee, is attracting support from some rural Democrats in constituencies where hunting is a deep-seated tradition. The legislation seeks to prevent victims of handgun violence from suing gun makers for not adding safety features to guns and for making their distribution to easy…..The civil rights group NAACP has sued 165 gun manufacturers….”

Contact your representatives and ask them to keep the gun companies on the hook. If laws can’t be passed against gun use, at least the manufacturers will bleed to death.

 

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