Republicans team up to defeat longtime ‘restriction’ targeting gun owners: ‘Violation of the Second Amendment’

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Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and other Senate Republicans recently introduced legislation that would abolish transfer taxes on firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The bill, called the Repealing Illegal Freedom and Liberty Excises (RIFLE) Act, was announced on Wednesday. According to a press statement released by Cotton, the law “would remove a burdensome tax imposed on firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act.”

The press release explains that the NFA has taxed the transfers of short-barreled shotguns and rifles and fully automatic firearms since 1934. The tax has been $200 since 1934, a sum that is equal to nearly $4,700 in 2024 dollars.

Specifically, the bill seeks to eliminate Section 5811 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, effectively repealing the transfer tax for all firearms regulated by the NFA.

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“The RIFLE Act does not modify the current checks and registration; it solely removes the federally mandated financial burden on law-abiding gun owners,” the press release adds.

Speaking to Fox News Digital on Wednesday, Ambler Law attorney Oliver Krawczyk said that the current taxes on firearms are “indistinguishable from poll taxes.” The lawyer, who specializes in Second Amendment law, called the legislation “a step in the right direction.”

“This would undermine the constitutional basis of the NFA altogether, because it’s a purported exercise of Congress’s enumerated taxing power,” Krawczyk added. “But the Founders would have scoffed at the notion that it could be a felony to possess a short-barreled rifle or shotgun in the first place.”

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The legislation is supported by other senators, including Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Rick Scott, R-Fla.; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; and Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The federal government should not be placing financial barriers on the inalienable rights of Americans. This unconstitutional tax on certain firearm purchases is a direct violation of the Second Amendment and must be repealed,” Hinson said. “As the Biden Administration and Democrats push proposals that unfairly target law-abiding gun owners, I will continue to stand up for Iowans’ right to keep and bear arms.”

In a statement, Cotton called the current firearm transfer taxes “unnecessary.”

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“Law-abiding Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights should not be subject to unnecessary taxes and restrictions preventing them from doing so,” Cotton said. “Passed into law in 1934, the National Firearms Act needs to be amended. Our legislation will remove the red tape that places an undue financial burden on would-be gun owners.”