The US Should Ban or Heavily Tax Weapons Designed for Mass Shootings

Boston University Working Paper

Randall P. Ellis
Boston University,
Department of Economics
August 22, 2016
Abstract

This paper presents four arguments for why the US should ban or at least heavily tax the sale or transfer to civilians of weapons designed for mass shootings (WDMS), which would include most semi-automatic guns and weapons with large capacity magazines.

  1. The Supreme Court has repeatedly validated that second amendment protections of the right to bear arms do not apply to particularly dangerous weapons where protection of public safety overrides constitutional protections; this exclusion should apply to WDMS just as it does to machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.
  1. To make gun owners pay for the annual cost of deaths in the US due to guns, we should be taxing each gun owned at $1000 per year, or tax all gun sales (new or used) at $15,000 per gun sold. Given their higher killing power we should tax WDMS at $60,000 per gun sold. Or just ban them.
  1. In the last 36 months, there have been 5,399 people in the US killed or injured at mass shootings (where four or more people are shot, although not necessarily killed). Unless action is taken, the most recent trends suggest that there will be twice as many mass shootings in the US in five years.
  1. Current federal law for duck hunting bans the use of shotguns that hold more than three shells. If we care enough to ban four-bullet capacity guns to preserve ducks, then we should be willing to ban even higher capacity guns designed to kill people.

The full paper is linked here.

http://blogs.bu.edu/ellisrp/files/2016/08/Banning-or-heavily-taxing-WDMS-20160822.pdf

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