Guns Save Life, Inc. has filed suit against Cook County’s blatantly unconstitutional new ammunition tax, and along with that, the recently passed firearms tax in Guns Save Life v. Ali.
The suit relies in part on the United States Supreme Court case which ruled that citizens cannot “be required to pay a tax for the exercise of . . . a high constitutional privilege.” Follett v. Town of McCormick, 321 U.S. 578 (1944).
Just as taxing the right to vote is unconstitutional, or to attend church or a city council meeting would be unconstitutional, so too is this tax on the retail sale of ammunition.
Joining Guns Save Life in the suit is Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range and Marilyn Smolenski. Maxon’s, a Cook County retail merchant, has seen sales suffer as people buy their guns at other retailers outside of Cook County to save money and avoid the punitive, unconstitutional tax. Marilyn Smolenski, owner of Nickel and Lace and a member of Guns Save Life, is also harmed as an individual Cook County resident, by either being forced to pay the tax, incurring additional expense by traveling outside of Cook County to avoid the tax, or perhaps most detrimental, to exercise her rights less because of the added cost of the unconstitutional taxes.
Here is the complaint, as filed.
Here’s the NRA’s press release:
Fairfax, Va. (NRA) — The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce that it is supporting a lawsuit challenging Cook County’s blatantly unconstitutional tax on the retail sale of firearms and ammunition. The case, filed today in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, is Guns Save Life v. Ali. Guns Save Life is an independent not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment rights of Illinois citizens to keep and bear arms. The other plaintiffs are a resident of Cook County whose Second Amendment rights are targeted by Cook County’s tax and a Cook County retailer that is required to charge its customers the unconstitutional tax and that is harmed by having to charge more for its products than competitors in neighboring counties.
The United States Supreme Court has made clear that law-abiding citizens cannot “be required to pay a tax for the exercise of . . . a high constitutional privilege.” Follett v. Town of McCormick, 321 U.S. 578 (1944).Despite this clear guidance, Cook County has continued its long-running campaign against Second Amendment rights by imposing a tax of $25 on every firearm,and it is set to impose a tax of either $.01 or $.05 on every round of ammunitionsold at retail in Cook County. Since its enactment in 2012, the County’s tax on firearms has done nothing to make the streets of Cook County safer. Confronted with this evidence of failure, the Cook County Board of Commissioners chose to double down on its unconstitutional attack on the Second Amendment when it voted last month to impose a new tax on the sale of ammunition in Cook County.
The suit filed today challenges the County’s Firearms and Ammunition Tax Ordinance as an unconstitutional infringement of the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the Illinois Constitution. The Suit further alleges that the Firearms and Ammunition Tax violates the Uniformity Clause of the Illinois Constitution and is preempted by State law.