The Mariana Islands are a US controlled territory often forgotten, but now they have everyone’s attention. This small set of islands far off in the Pacific ocean passed a Senate Bill which is drawing a lot of criticism. As of April 11th, all new handgun sales are subject to a $1,000.00 tax. The governor of the islands, Ralph Torres, has since defended his position on passing the bill, and even suggested that this could be a model for others (referring to states in the U.S.).
This act has many repercussions for the residents of the Mariana Islands and us in the United States. For those on the islands, it essentially strips away the ability to buy a firearm. It makes purchasing a handgun a rich man’s game. You can no longer buy a Hi-Point out-the-door for $200. Now it’s $1,200! Many view it as economic discrimination. If you can’t pay the outrageous tax then you’ll have to find other means to defend yourself and your family.
An immediate thought is that this is an act of gun control. This is not far from the truth. Governor Torres is essentially trying to legislate what economic classes can purchase handguns under the veil of creating “safer communities.” Sadly, disarming law abiding citizens has never slowed criminals, but only gives them free range knowing people have less means to defend themselves.
Why this law is dangerous for firearm enthusiasts in the US is it sets a precedent that this type of tax is “OK.” Many states who are less tolerant of firearms may adopt similar laws or more drastic ones.
Seattle has already seen a witch-hunt tax of $25 per firearm sale and the tax allegedly goes to gun violence research. Cook County (Chicago, Illinois) will see a 1¢ – 5¢ per round tax on ammunition starting in June in addition to a $25 gun tax on new sales.
What is more concerning is Democratic, front-runner Hillary Clinton has already given her stamp of approval for the $1,000 tax. She has always been in support of taxing firearms, but this is the most recent, vocal support she has displayed. This has a lot of people on edge considering she could become our president in 9 months.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ramona Manglona has already condemned the tax’s unconstitutional nature, but no action has resulted yet.