February 11, 2022
By Mark Chesnut
A measure under consideration in the Oregon State House of Representatives, designed to help some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, would infringe on other citizens’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
HB 4079, called the Oregon Freedom Pilot Program, would increase taxes on “luxury items,” with the money distributed to low-income pregnant women and adults who have aged out of the state’s foster youth program. While the purpose might be commendable, the fact that the bill’s authors included firearms in their list of “luxury items” is causing some concern.
Under the legislation, such “luxury” items would be subject to an additional three percent tax. Interestingly, the measure at this point is kind of a fill-in-the-blank proposition at this time, and will only include firearms over a certain, yet to be determined price.
“Jewelry would be a $20,000 threshold; we have a $15,000 threshold for items like snowmobiles,” said Democrat state Rep. Brad Witt. “Each item, the threshold pricing point was determined by what is the average cost of that item in the marketplace and we tried to get it at the very high end of that market to make sure it was luxury and not an everyday purchase price.”
While the measure likely has little chance of passage in its present form, it’s telling that some liberal lawmakers would include firearms in a list of so-called luxury items. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution protects the rights of Americans to keep firearms for self-defense. For Oregon lawmakers to then consider that means of self-defense to be a “luxury” shows just how little some think of the right to keep and bear arms.
In the end, Oregon gun owners should be angered over such flippant considerations of the most common means of self-defense to be a simple “luxury” item to be taxed at will. Nipping this measure off at the bud is the best thing that could happen to it.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.