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Missouri: Special Sales Tax on Guns, Ammo Could Fund Police Body Cameras

  • Jan 19, 2015 | Gail Cole

 Missouri lawmakers proposes funding police body cameras with special sales tax on handguns, ammo.

In an attempt to hold police more accountable and perhaps avoid another event like the Michael Brown shooting, and subsequent riots, in Ferguson, Missouri State Representative Brandon Ellington (D) has introduced legislation that would require law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. To pay for them, a 1% special sales tax would be levied on handguns and ammunition.

HB 75 reads in part:

“In addition to any other sales tax imposed under this chapter on the retail sale of any handgun or ammunition, as such term is defined in section 571.063, a tax is hereby levied and imposed upon every retail sale of any handgun or ammunition in this state at the rate of one cent per transaction. All revenues derived from the tax imposed under this subsection shall be deposited in the peace officer handgun and ammunition sales tax fund created in this subsection, and shall be used solely to provide funds for video and audio equipment under section 590.715….

The video camera shall record the interaction between a law enforcement officer and a member of the public. The recording shall include both audio and video.”

Reaction to the measure is mixed. Some don’t believe body cameras are necessary. Others think such devices could help “reinforce officers’ accounts of incidents involving guns and the public.” Few have spoken out in support of a special sales tax on handguns and ammunition. One man in favor of the cameras suggested taxing alcohol, drugs or marriage licenses, since marriages sometimes end up with domestic violence. His point is that gun owners should not be “singled out to foot the bill since police handle a range or crimes and many never involve gun violence.”

The NRA has released a written statement calling the tax “unmerited.” The organization “will continue to fight against such misguided encroachments on those who exercise their Second Amendment rights.”

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.