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California proposes annual tax and registration on each gun in the state

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(The Center Square) – The California legislature introduced a proposal to require gun owners in the state to pay an annual tax and register each gun they own. Failure to register and pay the tax would carry up to a $250 fine.

Given that the state can provide personal identifying information of California gun owners to “researchers” of “gun violence, ” this measure would effectively create an accessible registry of all California gun owners and their weapons.

State Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, D-Burbank, introduced SB 1160 as a public safety measure.

“SB 1160 will give the state better data and help us understand how many firearms are in private hands and who owns them,” said Portantino in a statement. “This important step toward registration will also increase accountability and responsible gun ownership as we collectively endeavor to increase public safety.”

Second Amendment advocates are already lining up to oppose the bill, with Gun Owners of California, a plaintiff in many of the cases against the state’s gun laws, proclaiming, “In yet another half-brained scheme to tax our constitutionally protected right, [Portantino] introduced SB1160 which requires CA gun owners to annually re-register their firearms with the DOJ. We can’t wait to defeat this one!”

GOC is already challenging a new law requiring gun dealers to maintain 24/7 camera and audio footage for one year, a move they say violates several constitutional rights by requiring extensive video and audio surveillance in gun shops, shows, and the homes of federal firearm licensees.

California gun owners are also appealing an earlier lower level federal ruling that allowed the state, as authorized under AB 173, to share personal data on gun owners — including gun owners’ names, address and ages — with any “bona fide research institution” for the purposes of studying gun violence prevention, shooting accidents, and suicides. Opposition to the measure focused on potential for chilling gun ownership and the consequences for violating citizens’ privacy.

“Information about citizens choosing to exercise a politically divisive, controversial or unpopular constitutional right “must be protected in a way that assures anonymity,” because an individual may become “reluctant” to exercise her right “if there exists a possibility that her decision and identity will become known publicly,” wrote the lawyers representing the anonymous plaintiffs against California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Moreover, once Defendant discloses the Personal Information maintained on the Databases, there is no legal remedy against the recipients of that information in the event of any subsequent unauthorized disclosure.”