Roberts’ Rules and Walmart’s Signs

Friday, August 11, 2017 — Two confusing issues dominated the news over the past 24 hours, taxing guns and advertising them. We’ll explain. In 2012, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, ruled that Barack Obama’s health care mandate wasn’t a penalty, it was a tax, and taxes, unlike guns, can’t be regulated. Yesterday, social media had a cow when news broke that a sign stationed above a glass case of guns in an Indiana Walmart was a subtle challenge to students to “Own The School Year Like a Hero.” Good God, Gert! They can’t get away with that! Walmart’s teaching kids to take guns to school! As usual, media – whether news or hysteric – jumped on the bandwagon and trumpeted both stories as if they rated more exposure than Un’s missiles or Trump’s furious fire.

In Washington state, its highest court ruled that the $25 tax on a gun purchase plus two cents to a nickel per round of ammo was justifiable in an effort to finance a study on gun violence. Turns out that, while gun control advocates in Seattle said that the tax could raise as much as a half million dollars a year for the city, it only produced a little under $200,000. But, what the hay…it’s a start. Problem is that, while it’s called a tax, everyone knows it’s nothing but penny-pinching gun control and all Seattle’s gun retailers, save one, have already moved outside the city limits and are continuing to thrive. The last holdout has already advised its customers to make their guns and ammo purchases at his other store in Fife, about 25 miles south of Seattle where there’s no tax.

When news of the Walmart sign hit Falsebook and Spitter, knots were tied in shoppers’ shorts all across Wally World, thereby upsetting the retail giant’s anti-gun customers. Gun advocates simply smiled. Meanwhile, some lawmakers are trying to figure out how to tax crime and regulate criminals, a chore that federal judges find  to be more daunting than either litigating or legislating.

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