From Christopher Boardman, candidate for Sheriff in Harford County:
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler has no problems with law-abiding taxpayers picking up the tab for gun violence. Just don’t ask gun owners to pay for it, his reasoning goes.
At a forum sponsored by the Bulle Rock Civic Association near Havre de Grace last week, Sheriff Gahler characterized a proposal by sheriff challenger Christopher Boardman as a “tax” whereby gun owners would have to pay $100 per gun per year to defray the $30 billion spent per year by taxpayers on gun violence in the U.S. Apparently the sheriff does not realize that the general public is already having its taxes spent on the problem, said Boardman, when the people who are responsible for the problem are not paying anything for it specifically.
The figure of $30 billion per year was derived from information obtained from the Gabby Giffords Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence. Giffords estimates that it costs taxpayers $700,000 per gun homicide victim and $100,000 per victim wounded from gun violence. With 35,000 gun murder victims in the U.S. and approximately twice that amount of wounding victims, the annual costs of gun violence paid from public treasuries is $30,000,000,000.00.
“That’s an awful lot of infrastructure that could be improved from money that is currently paying for gun violence,” said Boardman. “You could build 15 brand new Red Lines in Baltimore in one year alone with that much money. Not that we would, but we can rebuild bridges and highways throughout the country and improve mass transit in myriad ways if we could free up this money from gun violence by having the people responsible for it pay for their destructive and often-times deadly hobby as they should.”
But as Gahler pointed out, not all gun owners shoot and kill other people with their guns and presumably this would exempt them from the “tax” that Boardman is proposing.
“This is faulty reasoning. Not all car drivers kill pedestrians and other motorists with their cars. Still, they are not exempt from paying car insurance no matter how safe they are as drivers,” said Boardman. “A gun’s purpose is to shoot and kill or threaten to do this, while a car’s purpose is to transport.
Nevertheless, everyone who owns a car and drives is required to buy car insurance or they forfeit their car. That’s the way it should also be with guns, no matter how many self-entitled gun owners there happen to be.”
“An unintended consequence of such a new law will be to encourage gun owners who don’t want to pay the tax to turn their guns in. This will also reduce the risk of accidental shootings that may involve children or family members and so contribute to a safer environment,” said Boardman.
“Overall, this will lessen the epidemic of gun violence in our country and make us safer.
“We can expect Sheriff Gahler to be opposed to this and every other proposal to reduce gun violence. We will be listening for the sheriff to have any constructive suggestion, but frankly the only suggestion we expect him to say is that the gun violence problem can be solved only with more gun violence.”