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Gun buybacks could be funded by gun sales tax, lawmakers propose

February 21, 2013|By Richard Simon
  • About 2,600 guns, including 700 that were illegal, were turned in to authorities in Trenton, N.J., during a January gun buyback program in the state's capital.
About 2,600 guns, including 700 that were illegal, were turned in to authorities… (Mel Evan / Assoicated Press )

WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Linda Sanchez of California  is launching an effort to secure money for gun buybacks, firearms safety campaigns and anti-violence programs from a new tax on handgun purchases.

Sanchez unveiled the bill, which would impose a 10% tax on handgun purchases,  Thursday at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s headquarters in Monterey Park. 

“It is time to give our law enforcement agencies all the necessary resources to prevent gun violence,’’ Sanchez said.  

The measure is among a spate of bills introduced in response to the Newton, Conn., school shooting that left 27 dead, including the gunman.  

Legislation has been introduced to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, but efforts to expand background checks for all gun buyers and to establish gun buyback programs could have the best chance of passing.

Gun buyback programs have been popular in cities, with Los Angeles taking in 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons, at a buyback program in December.  In New Jersey,  more than 1,700 guns were turned in at  state-sponsored "no questions asked’’ gun buybacks held at churches last weekend.

Still, there has been much debate about their effectiveness.

And Sanchez’s bill is likely to run into resistance from House Republicans strongly opposed to tax increases.

 An NRA spokesman said it strongly opposes "any misguided effort to tax law abiding Americans exercising their fundamental constitutional right."

Sanchez’s bill has attracted a number of Democratic co-sponsors, including fellow Californians, but it does not yet have a Republican co-sponsor.  

Another recently introduced Democratic-sponsored bill would offer gun owners a $2,000 federal tax credit for turning in an assault weapon to police.

The George W. Bush administration ended a gun buyback program established by President Clinton, saying there was no proof that it was taking guns from criminals.

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Richard.simon@latimes.com

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