As part of its HighTaxHillary campaign, Americans for Tax Reform has rediscovered video of Hillary Clinton supporting a 25-percent tax on gun sales. She lent her support for the gun tax during a Senate Finance Committee hearing back in 1993, while she was First Lady.
ATR released a story and accompanying video on Sept. 8, but the major media have yet to cover the story in the two days since.
In fact, journalists have ignored Clinton’s comments for 22 years, according to ATR. The story was not covered when she ran for United States Senate. It was not covered when she ran for president, the first time. It had not been covered this presidential run until ATR published video, and has since been treated as non-news.
The 1993 hearing was televised on C-SPAN, but it only received minor media attention at the time.
The Associated Press gave slight mention to the story at the end of an article:
Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., picked up Mrs. Clinton's support for his idea of slapping stiff taxes on ''purveyors of violence:'' a 25 percent sales tax on guns and $2,500 license fees for gun dealers.
''Speaking personally ... I'm all for that,'' said the first lady. But she stressed she was just speaking for herself.
''Well, let me say that there is no more important personal endorsement in the country today, and I thank you very much,'' said a pleased-as-punch Bradley.
Similarly, papers, such as The New York Times, gave the story very little coverage.
In an age when nothing is private, especially if you are running for president, it is ridiculous that something like this would not be covered. Perhaps it is because she is the liberal front-runner and publically called for higher taxes and weakened gun rights. These are two issues that people care deeply about and could cost a candidate a swing state, or two or five. Just ask Al Gore about his home state of Tennessee.
The 25-percent tax on gun sales would be no trivial matter, it would have real effects on people and the economy. In 2013, more than 21 million guns were sold in the United States. A 25-percent tax would turn a $400 gun into a $500 gun and a $1,000 gun into a $1,250 gun for a consumer.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry supported more than 250,000 jobs and generated nearly $43 billion in economic activity in 2014. The same study showed that the industry is already responsible for nearly $6 billion in federal and state taxes. An additional tax on gun sales would only hamper sales and lead to lower employment and economic activity.
As the presidential campaign heats up, Clinton will certainly be asked to account for her e-mails and her time as Secretary of State, especially how she handled the tragedy in Benghazi. Will journalists finally follow up on her support of a gun-tax proposal?