A new $25 tax on gun purchases in Cook County has prompted a coalition of gun dealers and owners to file a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court yesterday.
Plaintiffs, including Riverdale-based Chuck’s Gun Shop, claim the tax infringes on the right to bear arms and filed suit Thursday to have the charge revoked. The $25 tax is slated to go into effect April 1. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle projects that the levy would to add $600,000 to the county's $2.9 billion 2013 budget.
When proposing the tax, Preckwinkle advocated against the cost taxpayers endure due to gun violence and referenced a study revelaing that about 30 percent of Chicago’s crime scenes involve guns that were legally purchased in suburban Cook County’s gun shops.
“Proponents of the tax have admitted that its purpose is to curb the number of firearms in circulation. The Tax thus is intended to deter individuals from exercising their fundamental right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second and the Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and . . . the Illinois Constitution,” the plantiff's suit states.
The lawsuit comes as state legislators in the Illinois General Assembly grapple over concealed carry legislation. A December ruling by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Illinois’ concealed carry ban to be unconstitutional. As a result, Illinois lawmakers have until June 9 to draft a new law.
Kristen Mack, a spokeswoman for Preckwinkle, told the Chicago Sun-Times in an emailed statement that county officials are “confident (the tax) will withstand a legal challenge.”
“When we proposed this tax in the fall, we expected it to be contentious,” Mack said. “President Preckwinkle maintains she won’t make decisions on the basis of whether or not somebody is going to sue the county, otherwise we’d never make bold proposals.”