Monday, April 16, 2018

Legal Question

I'm sure everybody already knows the answer to this question, but humor me for a moment, I seem to have missed that discussion in my Thermodynamics class or somewhere.

1. Poll taxes are forbidden under the 24th amendment:
24th Amendment . Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.. Passed August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.. This Amendment was sponsored by US Senator Spessard Lindsay Holland of Florida (Democrat).
In the 1966 case of Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, the Supreme Court reversed its decision in Breedlove v. Suttles to also include state elections as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

2. Why then are taxes on firearms of any sort at all, legal?


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Wildlife management is hooked in tightly with Pittman-Robertson funds, so any discussion of the righteousness of taxes on firearms is going to bring on wailing and gnashing of teeth by state agencies, wildlife biologists, and everyone in the chain of cash. I really like your point and I must ponder this!

Billll said...

I knew about the P-R funding and that it would be effectively lost but it's like establishing a tax on all slaves sold and earmarking the money to providing affordable housing for them. I guess the money will have to come out of the general fund or maybe from the interior departments budget.

Merle said...

Sorry, but I don't get the connection here with taxes. Pretty much everything else in the world has various taxes attached to it. Guess this is one of my slow days.

Billll said...

As I understand this, there is no explicitly defined right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. At the time, the franchise was something that the individual states granted, each according to its own rules. There are, however, enough references to such rights limiting the states rights to themselves limit the franchise to pretty much establish voting as a widely established right. As such, the Supreme court says it can't be restricted through taxation. The implication here is that established rights in general can't be so restricted. This flows from the equal protection clause. Churches, for example are not inherently exempt from property taxes, but may not be taxed additionally for the privilege of being a church.

Hmmm I may be getting to an answer here. A church or newspaper may not be taxed simply for being a church or paper, but is expected to pay the local property taxes which cover the supporting infrastructure. Certainly the local taxing authority could be charitable and exempt a church from such taxes, but it would have to exempt ALL churches within its authority if it did. Having established that property used in the exercise of protected rights may be taxed along with all other property, and as long as such taxation is not out of line with taxes imposed on any other property, then a sales tax on a firearm would be legitimate. What would be questionable would be a requirement for a permit or license to perform the purchase in the first place. What, for example, does a FOID card cost to get in Illinois?