Chris Kennedy backs Danny Davis bill to hike federal taxes on guns, bullets

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Chris Kennedy, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, joined U.S. Rep. Danny Davis outside Mount Sinai Medical Center, where Davis announced he plans to introduce legislation aimed at increasing taxes on the purchase of guns and ammunition. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, joined by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Chris Kennedy, announced Sunday he plans to introduce a bill this week that would raise federal taxes on the purchase of guns and ammunition.

The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act would increase federal excise taxes on shells and cartridges from 11 percent to 50 percent. It also calls for an increase in taxes on the sale of pistols and revolvers from 10 percent to 20 percent.

Taxes on other firearms, including assault weapons, would rise from 11 percent to 20 percent under the legislation Davis said he plans to introduce Tuesday.

Money collected by the tax increase would go toward funding anti-violence programs.

“There’s no reason to have the ability for individual citizens to walk around with assault weapons,” Davis said, noting that a goal of the legislation is to make buying bullets for such weapons cost prohibitive.

“We need to ban assault rifles in the state of Illinois. But until then, we need to tax everyone so they pay their fair share,” Kennedy said.

It’s taxpayers, Kennedy noted, who end up shouldering much of the cost of treating the victims of gun violence because they end up in emergency rooms at safety-net hospitals.

Davis and Kennedy held a news conference Sunday near the intersection of California and Ogden avenues, in front of Mount Sinai Medical Center, which regularly treats gunshot victims.

Davis introduced the same legislation in 2014.

“We never ended up getting a hearing because our side of the aisle was not in charge of the legislative scheduling, but we think that we’ll be able to get beyond that this time,” he said.“We’ve already got several co-sponsors of the legislation and I’m sure by the time we introduce it on Tuesday we’ll probably have at least 20.”

Reducing gun violence has become a key initiative in Kennedy’s campaign and he’s received enthusiastic endorsements from Davis and fellow U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Kennedy recited several dates cemented in history by men with guns, including the assassination of his father, Robert F. Kennedy.

“We don’t want another generation to mark their years by dates like that,” he said.

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