Tuesday Letters: Put a 5-cent county tax on bullets

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Richard Boykin propose a tax on ammunition.

Gun violence is endemic in certain communities, and while lawmakers, community leaders and residents work to combat the current wave of violent crime, statistics show we’re failing to move the needle.

Last year, 458 people died of gunshot wounds in Cook County. Chicago alone logged over 1,700 non-fatal shootings. With two months left in 2015, the numbers paint an even bleaker picture — 465 people murdered with guns in Cook County and 2,076 non-fatal shootings in Chicago. Every shooting is a tragedy; the human cost unimaginable. The financial costs, while paling in comparison to lives lost, are overwhelming to the county.

We should tax bullets just as we do guns to help government address the costs of violence. Currently taxpayers who do not purchase a bullet pay the full cost of gun violence. We believe this is a fair measure, to make the cost of the product more accurately reflect the costs it has on the county and society. It’s no different than taxing alcohol or tobacco.

Under our proposal, ammunition used in larger-caliber firearms would be taxed at five cents per bullet; ammunition for smaller-caliber firearms would be taxed at one cent per bullet.

This is about addressing the cost of gun violence. Funds generated from the tax would go toward public safety programs that deal with causes and consequences of gun violence. We are proud to put this initiative together and urge Cook County commissioners and residents to stand with us.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Commissioner Richard Boykin

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

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