Keep Your AR-15 — Tax the Ammo

Andrew D Ellis
4 min readJun 9, 2022


There is one — AND ONLY ONE — way that a Democratic majority could dramatically reduce assault weapons violence without sixty votes.

Use the reconciliation process built into the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act to implement a tax on the manufacture, sale, transfer or gift of assault weapons ammunition at $25 per round at both the manufacturing level and at the retail sale level. Tax the ammo manufacturers and the resellers! That’s right: $25 per bullet. The tax on a box of 20 rounds would cost $1,000 (if the manufacturers pass along the tax to their resellers). The tax could be imposed with a simple majority vote that is not subject to a legislative filibuster by inserting the needed tax provisions into a reconciliation bill.

There is no procedural bar to such a provision. And, every reconciliation bill must be brought to a vote; there is a maximum of 100 hours of debate. A reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered. The ammo tax would be a revenue measure that would promote deficit reduction. For those followers of the arcane rules of the Senate, such a tax provision would satisfy the Byrd Rule that prevents the inclusion of any extraneous matters that do not help achieve the budgetary goals set out in the reconciliation instructions.