The following letter was sent to State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest and reprinted at the request of the writer.
Dear Ms. Gilchrest:
I am a retired resident of Wilton and a gun owner. The purpose of my guns is two-fold:
1) Since I live alone, I appreciate the comfort of having a 9mm pistol in my bedside table drawer for protection should I have the unfortunate experience of a nighttime break-in. Granted, it is unlikely, but the comfort is there. At my age, it could be my only defense.
2) Practice shooting paper targets at a range.
That is it. I am not a hunter and I do not carry a gun unless I am transporting it to a range where I can do target shooting.
Besides the fact that the practice I get shooting at targets makes number one safer, I get great enjoyment from range shooting as a hobby. Again, due to my age (73), I have become less able physically to pursue other hobbies. There is great satisfaction in improving my abilities and it is very valuable for improving my eyesight and concentration. Indeed, many of the people I meet at the range have the same exact experience.
I assume that the point of an ammunition tax would be to deter criminal activity, but you need to understand that a tax would not accomplish that goal. By way of an example, the bullets for a full 10-round magazine in a 9mm pistol would cost about $2.00 (roughly 20 cents per bullet). Even a 100% tax would raise that price for a full magazine to only $4.00. Would that be enough to provide any sort of deterrent to a criminal with ill intent? Of course not.
The burden of such a tax would, in fact, fall mostly on people like me who expend many bullets practicing a hobby which is not a danger to anybody and yet is an important part of our lives. People who are, in addition, hunters also need regular range practice. That very practice which improves their skills and accuracy makes their hunting activities much safer for everyone.
So I ask that you and your colleagues reconsider any thoughts of an ammunition tax. It will not deter a criminal and will hurt harmless sport shooters like myself who experience enjoyment from the activity while harming no-one.