Gov Murphy to propose fee increase for firearm permits. Modern day poll tax?

Governor Murphy has expressed support to raise the fees in the past. ”It’s hard to believe it’s actually cheaper to get a permit to purchase a handgun, which is $2, than it is to get a dog license in practically any town in our state,” Murphy said at a June 13, 2018, bill signing.

We reached out to Senate Democratic leadership and they decline to comment on speculation.

Historically fees and taxes have been used against minority communities of color to suppress their constitutional rights, such as voting and firearm ownership. Poll taxes were used to prevent minorities and people of color from voting, and laws banning certain types of firearms were enacted to prevent the poor and freed slaves from owning guns.

After the Civil War an influx of inexpensive firearms began to flood the market due to years of overmanufacturing and modernization of manufacturing processes. These factors significantly lowered the cost of firearms and it opened a new marketshare for minorities and low-income customers. In response to this, white supremacists in Tennessee helped enact the “Army and Navy Law” which banned the sale of all handguns except for the most expensive model available at the time, the Army Navy model. In essence it completely ended the ability for poor blacks in the south to be able to purchase firearms.

A more modern and commonly known example of this form of discrimination, that was heavily supported by the KKK, is known as “Saturday Night Special” laws enacted from the 1960’s to 1980’s. These laws specifically banned inexpensive and “junk guns” because they were being used in crimes in low-income neighborhoods, but also purchased by blacks and minorities for self defense. A study by Kleck and Patterson titled ‘The Impact of Gun Control and Gun Ownership Levels on Violence Rates’ found no reduction in crime rates.

In June of 2018, Bryan Miller from an organization called ‘Heading God’s Call to End Gun Violence’ stated to “The state has not raised these fees for 52 years while every other cost in the world has gone up significantly,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of the group Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence. “The governor’s budget has these fees in it. The legislative leadership budget does not. Somehow, I don’t think that’s an accident.”

Governor Murphy’s office has not responded for comment.

How else can you interpret a $300 fee as anything other than blatant discrimination against the poor and minorities.

This article will be updated. 

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