A Democratic Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation that would impose a “thoughts and prayers” tax on the sale of firearms in the state.
State Rep. Bo Mitchell’s bill would impose a 15% sales tax on firearms sold at retail, with the proceeds going to the Tennessee Department of Education to help hire school counselors.
“Tongue-in-cheek, I made it AR-15 percent,” Mitchell told WKRN. “I call it the ‘Thoughts and Prayers Tax.’ If we’re going to do nothing else in this state, we’re going to put this taxation into a fund to fund K through 12 mental health counselors for our children.”
“If we don’t solve this problem, we’re going to need a lot more mental health counselors in our schools, either for the school shooting or for the children who go home, and the guns are unsecured at home, and they either shoot themselves or their neighbors’ children. It’s either we act and do something, or we’re going to have to start taxing to pay for the other problem it’s causing,” he added.
Mitchell says he got the idea for the legislation from a Republican voter who spoke at a recent town hall event near Nashville, the area Mitchell represents. He said a man stood up and identified himself as a gun owner and frequent hunter, according to WKRN.
“He said if you want to solve this, one way to solve the gun problem is why don’t you sponsor a bill putting a tax on the sale of firearms,” Mitchell said. “I said, ‘I’ll be happy to file that bill for you.'”
The legislation faces slim chances of success, however, as Republicans hold a supermajority in the state’s General Assembly.
Mitchell went on to argue that no sale tax on guns would be necessary if the state’s legislature passed red flag laws, a safe storage law and an assault weapons ban.
Read the full text of Mitchell’s proposed bill below: