Jul 192011
Otis Rolley, a gun hater and Baltimore mayoral candidate

Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley wants to tax your ammo

There are few creatures more venal than politicians running for office.  They’ll say or do just about anything in the desperate hope of winning the election.  Normal people find this impossible to understand, because most of the time, normal people also can’t understand who in their right mind would run for most public offices.  But no-one has ever accused politicians of being normal.

An egregious example of idiocy is on display in Baltimore where mayoral candidate Otis Rolley has proposed a new way of reducing crime – by imposing a $1 tax on every bullet bought.  Baltimore is one of the most violent cities in the nation – I wonder if there is any relation between its appalling crime record and Rolley’s past position as the city’s planning director between 2003 – 2007?

In Rolley’s alternative universe, adding a $1 tax to every bullet would make it too expensive for criminals to use guns when committing crimes and so would result in less crime being committed, with or without guns.

Let’s think about this (distasteful but necessary).  Most criminals never fire a gun in any crime.  Indeed, probably most of the time, criminals don’t even carry a gun.  These criminals will be unaffected by Rolley’s bullet tax.

But what about the criminals who do carry a gun?  Adding a $1/bullet tax would mean that instead of spending $500 – $1000 on a gun and then $10 on a box of bullets, they now need to spend an extra $20 or so to get enough bullets to load their gun.  Wow – that will sure make a difference, won’t it.

And what about the criminals who actually fire their gun?  Maybe they fire their gun half a dozen times in the course of a crime that nets them some thousands of dollars.  Will an extra cost of $5 – $10 really make that much of a difference to them?

Rolley of course deliberately chooses not to think about the other people impacted by his plan – honest ordinary law abiding citizens who shoot guns for recreation or for training.  People like you (I hope!) and me.

We fire hundreds, possibly even thousands of rounds a year so as to ensure we can safely and competently use a gun.  The cost to us would be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  That would sure impact on us.

There’s a bit of good news, though.  Baltimore is just one single city, and in a very small state.  So it isn’t too far to drive out of Baltimore to find a gun shop in a city not suffering from a crazy mayor, and to buy your ammunition there.  Or to get it online.  Hmmmm – maybe even the criminals will do that, too?  Do you reckon?

Otis is a Democrat.  But you probably guessed that, already.

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