The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy

I’m sure this has been covered by other gun-bloggers. Pardon my tardiness. But this is another reason I will never register nor license my right to possess firearms. (I’m less than sanguine about concealed-carry licensing, but I’m willing to comply with it. For now.)

It seems that New York governor Pataki has decided that, in order to raise revenue, New York ought to change its handgun licensing system.

While Gov. George Pataki’s 12th annual budget address last week to the state legislature may not have harbored many surprises, gun owners from across the state were caught off guard by what they view as another attempt by Pataki to take their handguns away.

Pataki has presented a number of legislative initiatives since taking office that have not endeared him to the sportsmen and women in New York.

If Pataki follows through with this latest threat, his 2004-2005 budget bill will include a request for a new law which would require all gun owners — even those with lifetime licenses — to renew their licenses every five years. This new provision by itself would fall short of the objective — if indeed his objective is to strip them of their guns — but the $100 license fee and the $25 fee required for every handgun they own could amount to a hefty bill for some of the more enthusiastic collectors.

And it gets worse. Pataki proposes to remove the cap on processing fees that can currently be charged by local authorities. That could, and probably would, get ugly.

Gun owners in Westchester County feel they already are under fire. The county legislature there has already taken a series of measures during the last few years which have not been friendly to gun owners. Gun owners are now fearful that if they are given the opportunity, Westchester County authorities would price them right out of the market.

Lawmakers would be able to claim that they have not blocked anyone’s right to buy a handgun. Instead, they would simply make it economically prohibitive to own them. Activists feel it would not be very long before many jurisdictions in the state, under the guise of trying to “solve a crime problem” — whether real or imagined — would start charging exorbitant fees for processing handgun licenses.

This is the same tactic employed in England. Introduce a simple “commonsense” unburdensom regulation that no “right-thinking” person would oppose. Then, slowly, make it more and more expensive to exercise the right to arms. After all, gun owners are a minority. They don’t have that much political pull. (If it weren’t for that meddling NRA!).

Hey, Pataki? Why not just confiscate gun owner’s cars? That’d get you lots of income.

UPDATE: I was right. The Feces Flinging Monkey was all over this yesterday, with good advice and links for New Yorkers.

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