Posted on June 3, 2020

Fact Check: Democrat’s Bill Would Increase Taxes on Firearms and Ammunition

Molly Stellino, USA Today, May 24, 2020

The claim: H.R. 5717 would implement a 30% tax on all gun sales and 50% tax on all ammunition sales

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., introduced in January H.R. 5717, a bill that would strengthen measures to prevent gun violence. It has evoked mixed reactions from the public and moved to the forefront of conversation surrounding legislation not related to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Facebook user made a post in late April calling the bill, known as the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020, “tyranny.” The user said the bill “will add 30% tax on all guns and 50% tax on all ammo.”

What H.R. 5717 would change if passed

The bill’s intent is “to end the epidemic of gun violence and build safer communities by strengthening federal firearms laws and supporting gun violence research, intervention, and prevention initiatives,” as stated in its introduction.

If passed it would, among other measures, require individuals to obtain a license to possess firearms, raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms and require law enforcement be notified when an individual does not pass a background check.


Section 803 of Johnson’s H.R. 5717 details the changes that would be made to taxes on firearms and other related items.

It would make pistols, revolvers and other firearms taxable at 30%. Shells and cartridges would be taxable at 50%.


Thirty-nine percent of the money collected from these taxes would be put toward research on and programs for gun violence prevention. The legislation does not specify how the funds would be allocated or where the other 61% of the money would go.


The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in late March. {snip}

Our ruling: True