As part of continuing efforts by state and local officials to remind law-abiding gun owners that they are repugnant to all decent folks, Cook County today began assessing a new "violence" tax of $25 on every gun sale at suburban stores.
It's a demagogic gesture that has nothing to do with curbing violence. Gangs and other participants in the illegal gun trade are not likely to buy from dealers, since felons are barred from such purchases. And if someone with a clean record wants to buy a pistol to embark on a spree of robberies, the $25 fee isn't likely to deter him. The misnamed violence tax will mostly penalize the non-violent.
Nor is it likely to raise as much money as projected. The chief effect will be to induce customers to make their purchases in neighboring counties that don't impose the tax. Of course, the affected dealers could absorb the tax to keep business. But over time, they will have a strong incentive to leave Cook County to escape the levy.
Customer and stores may go elsewhere. The criminals? They'll stay.