Fox News Highlights Criticism of Tacoma Gun Tax

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday morning, FNC's Fox and Friends gave attention to misguided efforts to restrict gun sales in Tacoma, Washington, by charging people a tax for gun sales, as if making lawful gun purchases more expensive would somehow harm criminals.

At about 7:45 a.m. Eastern, the show allowed two pro-gun activists from the Tacoma Rifle and Revolver Club to appear as guests and explain why they oppose the tax. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt introduced the four-minute segment:

Well, one city has a new idea to prevent gun violence, and that's taxes. Tacoma, Washington approving a new $25 per gun tax on retail sales, and the city also taxing up to five cents per round of ammunition. This as critics argue Tacoma's new tax will drive businesses out of town, and put residents at risk.

She then asked Jane Milhans, a gun instructor, about her experience of surviving a home invasion which made her more interested in helping others learn to use guns for self-defense. Milhans argued In favor of arming women:

I survived a home invasion by two men, and because of surviving that situation, many women came to me and asked me to teach them how to use a firearm for personal protection because for women a firearm is the equalizer. It levels the fight, you might say, and gives women a chance to survive. So I took classes and became a certified NRA firearm instructor, and every year I volunteer hundreds of hours teaching women how to use firearms for personal protection. I do that as a community service.

After giving her second guest, John Zwosra, a chance to recall how he became involved with gun training, Earhardt went back to Milhans and asked for her response to the gun tax: "What was your reaction when you learned that every firearm that was sold in that area is going to be taxed $25?"

Milhans informed viewers that many of her students are elderly women with only limited income:

Many of these women are on a very fixed income, and I charge $45 for a two-full-day class, and so it's affordable. But for them to have to pay a tax or be punished for the actions of criminals just for wanting to protect themselves, I thought, was just wrong. And so I started contacting all the gun shops -- I contacted the NRA for help, and contacted gun groups to ask people to help me to fight this tax.

Earhardt wrapped up the segment by giving Zwosta a chance to relay the objections of local gun dealers who expect to have trouble selling to residents because of the tax.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, November 14, Fox and Friends on FNC:

AINSLEY EARHARDT: Well, one city has a new idea to prevent gun violence, and that's taxes. Tacoma, Washington approving a new $25 per gun tax on retail sales, and the city also taxing up to five cents per round of ammunition. This as critics argue Tacoma's new tax will drive businesses out of town, and put residents at risk. … I want to get to the taxes, but first I want to know your stories. Jane, tell me what happened to you that led you to become a gun instructor.

JANE MILHANS, TACOMA RIFLE AND REVOLVER CLUB: Well, I survived a home invasion by two men, and because of surviving that situation, many women came to me and asked me to teach them how to use a firearm for personal protection because for women a firearm is the equalizer. It levels the fight, you might say, and gives women a chance to survive. So I took classes and became a certified NRA firearm instructor, and every year I volunteer hundreds of hours teaching women how to use firearms for personal protection. I do that as a community service.

(…)

EARHARDT: What was your reaction when you learned that every firearm that was sold in that area is going to be taxed $25?

MILHANS: Well, when I found out about it, I was -- my first thoughts were to the women that have been through my classes. Because we offer affordable classes, I get many of the seniors. There's a huge demand of senior women -- widows -- age group runs from 60 to 87 years old that want to learn. And many of these women are on a very fixed income, and I charge $45 for a two-full-day class, and so it's affordable. But for them to have to pay a tax or be punished for the actions of criminals just for wanting to protect themselves, I thought, was just wrong. And so I started contacting all the gun shops -- I contacted the NRA for help, and contacted gun groups to ask people to help me to fight this tax.

EARHARDT: All right, John, real quickly, what are your thoughts? And what are the firearms shops -- what are they saying?

JOHN ZWOSTA, TACOMA RIFLE AND REVOLVER CLUB: Firearm shops are very -- they're unhappy because they're opposing a tax that makes them -- they can't be competitive to be able to sell to their local population.

EARHARDT: The fear is that they're going to move out -- I know..

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