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California just passed the first state tax on gun, ammo sales

The state also passed a law banning people from carrying firearms in most public places

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters at Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters at Del Mar Fairgrounds on Feb. 18, 2022, in Del Mar, Calif. Newsom signed a law, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, raising taxes on gun and ammunition sales to pay for school safety and violence prevention.

Nelvin C. Cepeda, The San Diego Union-Tribune via Associated Press

Along with banning people from carrying firearms in most public places, California will double the taxes on guns and ammunition under new laws Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this week.

The laws could test the limits of the U.S. Supreme Court’s new standard for interpreting the Second Amendment, according to The Associated Press.

The federal government already taxes the sale of guns and ammunition at either 10% or 11%, depending on the type of gun. The new law imposes another 11% on top of that, making California the only state with a separate tax on guns and ammunition, according to the gun control advocacy group Brady, per the AP.

The money would fund school safety and gun violence prevention programs.

The legislation also bans the concealed carrying of a gun in certain “sensitive places,” including educational institutions, parks and sporting events, and sets the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit at 21. It also strengthens background checks for people seeking firearm permits.

Another law bans people from carrying guns in 26 places, including public parks and playgrounds, public demonstrations and gatherings, amusement parks, churches, banks, zoos and “any other privately owned commercial establishment that is open to the public” unless the owner puts up a sign saying guns are allowed, according to the AP.

“While radical judges continue to strip away our ability to keep people safe, California will keep fighting — because gun safety laws work,” Newsom said in a press release.

But the Democratic governor also acknowledged that some of the legislation might not survive legal challenges since the U.S. Supreme Court has imposed a new standard on interpreting the nation’s gun laws.

“It may mean nothing if the federal courts are throwing them out,” Newsom said, per the AP. “We feel very strongly that these bills meet the (new standard), and they were drafted accordingly. But I’m not naive about the recklessness of the federal courts and the ideological agenda.”

The California Rifle and Pistol Association has already sued to block the law that prohibits people from carrying guns in most public places. 

“These laws will not make us safer. They are an unconstitutional retaliatory and vindictive response to the Supreme Court’s affirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to choose to own a firearm for sport or to defend your family,” said Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association. “They are being challenged, and the second they are signed, the clock starts ticking towards a judgment striking them down.”