NRA slams Newsom’s ‘sin tax’ comments on gun law amid spiraling crime: ‘ignoring criminals’

Second Amendment

The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a scathing response to Democratic. Gov. Gavin Newsom signing new laws that will double the taxes on gun and ammunition sales in the state and bans people from carrying firearms in many public places. 

“The NRA condemns the legislation enacted by Gov. Newsom. It is a blatant and egregious attack on the rights of law-abiding Californians and a calculated maneuver to dismantle the Second Amendment. Newsom’s consistent attacks on the constitutional rights of the citizens while ignoring criminals are converting California into a beacon for violence and lawlessness,” NRA Western Regional Director Dan Reid told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

Newsom signed a handful of gun laws on Tuesday, including Assembly Bill 28, which adds an 11% tax on all gun and ammo purchases in the state on top of the federal government’s 10% or 11% tax on gun purchases. 

“The carnage, it’s too much. We can’t normalize it, we can’t accept it,” Newsom said during the signing ceremony in Sacramento. “This is a small price to pay.” The state was the scene of two mass shootings earlier this year that left a combined 18 people dead. 


California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on Oct. 1, 2021 in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Violent crimes in California rose 6.1% in 2022 compared to 2021, while property crimes increased by 6.2%, according to a report published this year by nonprofit CalMatters. Homicides dipped slightly, according to the report. 

“I’m celebratory, because I’m proud that we were able to sign these bills,” Newsom added. “But it’s going to require a national construct, a national frame in order to ultimately address this.”

Newsom’s signature on AB 28 means California is the first state to level a special tax on gun purchases. Funds raised by the special tax, which are estimated to generate $159 million per year, will go toward the state’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program and the State Department of Education.


When questioned by a reporter why the governor has previously rejected tax increases but supported an additional tax on guns and ammunition, Newsom compared the legislation to a “sin tax.” 

Wayne LaPierre at podium with red background

NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks at podium. (NRA)

“For me this is a little different. This is an excise tax related to gun safety that funds mental health services, funds school safety programs … I see this a little bit differently, in that context. This is not a general income tax, not a corporate tax, this is … from my perspective, more of a sin tax, where there is a cause and effect and justification,” he responded. 

Reid shot back that the comment exposed Newsom’s “prejudice on legal firearm ownership.”


“During his press conference today, Newsom likened the excise tax to a ‘sin tax,’ exposing his prejudice on legal firearm ownership. It is an attempt to penalize citizens for exercising their constitutional rights. The NRA vows to fight these oppressive laws, standing firm with the majority of Americans in opposition to Newsom’s draconian initiatives,” Reid said. 

NRA convention exhibit floor booths

Different booths are shown on the exhibit floor of the 2022 NRA convention in Houston. (Fox News Digital)

When reached for comment regarding the NRA’s response to the laws and the governor comparing the tax to a “sin tax,” the governor’s office directed Fox News Digital to his comments Tuesday that “directly responds to the gun industry.”

“How about a little damn accountability?” Newsom said after signing the bill. “If you’re selling a product — that’s a leading product, a purveyor of death for our kids — how about a little humility, grace, and accountability? This is serious stuff. This is a business — I understand it sells self-defense, but it also sells weapons of war. The carnage is too much. We can’t normalize it. We can’t accept it.  This is a small price to pay. This is pretty de minimis.”

“This measure funds everything they claim to think are the most important things: mental health — somehow that will solve it all because that’s unique in the United States, mental health doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. That’s why we have leading gun death rates, according to their argument. Or perhaps they’ve never thought through the argument,” the governor added during Tuesday’s signing event. 

Newsom also signed Senate Bill 2, which increases restrictions on where gun owners can carry in public, and tightens restrictions on who can obtain a permit, which the NRA said on its website can allow authorities to “arbitrarily deny applicants.” 


The governor also signed Senate Bill 452, which requires all semi-automatic pistols be equipped with microstamping technology that can “etch unique identifiers on expended cartridges,” according to a California press release. A federal judge in the state ruled against the use of such technology earlier this year.

Fox News Digital’s Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report. 

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