They Wish it Were a Privilege

Quote of the Day

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 82.12 RCW to read as follows:

(1) A use tax is levied on every person in this state for the privilege of using ammunition as a consumer at the rate of 11 percent of the selling price.

State of Washington
January 9, 2024

Via an post on X to me from Chuck Petras @Chuck_Petras.

Just because they say it is a privilege does not make it a privilege.

This is clearly unconstitutional. Which, of course, makes it all the more attractive to the anti-freedom gang.

I look forward to their trials.


13 thoughts on “They Wish it Were a Privilege

  1. “It is contended, however, that the fact that the license tax can suppress or control this activity is unimportant if it does not do so. But that is to disregard the nature of this tax. It is a license tax—a flat tax imposed on the exercise of a privilege granted by the Bill of Rights. A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution” MURDOCK v. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, 1943

    • The Bill of Rights did not grant anything to anyone: it prohibits any government from doing certain things, Read it again. It also protects the right to trial by jury, which was very significant because jurors have the Right to Nullify. Government cannot grant privileges or rights: those are not its function. It is to protect and defend our rights. Government has no right to make war, other than through a tedious process that will certainly fail as more people become aware of the horrors of living in a military/industrial thug nation with aspirations of empire. People keep saying “grants a right” when it does no such thing: it prohibits government actions. That is a chasm of difference.

      • Exactly right. L. Neil Smith once said that the right name for those 10 amendments would be “Bill of Prohibitions”. He also pointed out that questions like “at what age does the 1st Amendment start to apply” are nonsensical (and the corollary is that everyone’s freedom of speech shall not be infringed, independent of the age of the speaker).

        On juries: a wonderful analysis can be found in “An essay on the trial by jury” by Lysander Spooner (1852), freely available at He goes into the history at great length. Neil Smith summarized it in once phrase, “the millennium-old right of the jury to judge both the facts and the law”.

  2. Oooh- how about we tax some other BOR rights?
    A $500 annual tax for belonging to a church. A $10,000 license fee to operate a church.
    – $1,000 license required to speak your mind
    – $500 tax for a jury trial
    – $500 tax is paid annually, or you waive your right to be free of unreasonable searches
    I’m sure you can think of some others.

  3. A use tax is levied on every person in this state….

    Every person in this state? Including the non-shooters and people who don’t use ammunition?

    It is a creative argument: 2A protects the right to “keep and bear” arms — that is, to own and carry them — but it doesn’t say anything about “using” arms or ammunition, so that must be fair game to tax. Because “gun violence”, or “the environment”, or something.

    Unfortunately for them, when compared to other items in the BoR, it falls apart:
    – You may own and carry as many Bibles as you like, but if you want to read or preach from them, that’s subject to a “use tax”.
    – You may retain and consult with legal counsel as much as you want, but if you want him/her to file motions or step into a courtroom on your behalf, that’s subject to a “use tax”.
    – You have the right to a trial by jury, but every hour they sit in court and deliberate your case is subject to a “use tax”, payable by you.
    – You have the right to be secure in your person and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, but if you want to protect your files or items behind a password/firewall/encryption, in a physical safe, or even in your pockets away from prying eyes — rather than leaving them out in open view — that’s subject to a “use tax”.

    (On that last, you just know that the fact that publicly-available tax records show you’re paying it can and will be used as evidence you have something to hide. Just like how pleading the 5th Amendment or retaining an attorney for interviews/interrogations is assumed by some to be evidence of guilt; even if they can’t claim it so in their case, it affects how they move forward in the investigation and the direction they go.)

    As Tirno points out above, a state cannot charge a tax or fee for exercising a right protected by the Constitution. The fact they keep trying should be introduced as evidence in their trials. (It’s not like legislators don’t have legal counsel to help them write bills; those lawyers should know better, so they should enjoy their trials, too.)

  4. Since Sir Robert Peel invented the modern police, one of his principles seems relevant here.
    7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
    To implement this, I propose a tax on all unarmed persons over 18 with certain exemptions for the mentally incapacitated, etc.

    • At what point will the incapacitation exemption start to include liberals/socialists, and will they all want to get inside the line?

      • When they’re willing to voluntarily commit themselves to the asylum and give up all their rights for as long as they remain there.

        Otherwise, they can pay the tax.

    • This reminds me of L. Neil Smith’s graphic novel “Roswell, Texas” in which citizens of the Republic of Texas need a permit to be in public without a weapon.
      It’s a fun story, by the way.

Comments are closed.