California Senator Kevin de Leon, Author of SB 798
Photo: WikimediaAs I pointed out in one of my recent Airsoft blogs on the SB 798 mess, law enforcement officers are still going to have to treat everything that looks like a gun as if it were real, regardless of its external color.
Asking law enforcement officers to stop treating anything that looks like a real gun as if it were definitely real simply because it's painted a different color would be like having Osama Bin Laden (if he were still alive) & his al-Qaeda cohorts get haircuts and then go all Michael Jackson, bleach their skin to look less like mass-murdering terrorists. They're still the same soulless dirtballs they were before, but now they just have whiter skin. The color of a gun does not equal public safety or increased safety for our public safety officers. They have a hard enough job as it is.
Here's just one example of someone's local news story covering real guns that are brightly colored; pink, of course, being the predominant choice.
"Men and guns, the two have been paired for ages. But not so much anymore. Ladies, it's your turn to lock and load.
The National Rifle Association says more women are buying guns for sport and self defense, a trend seen at Second Amendment Sports in northwest Bakersfield.
"Crime rates go up and everybody gets a little more nervous, everybody wants to start buying firearms and ladies are no different," said Second Amendment Sports General Manager Keith Johnson.
And gun makers are taking notice, creating everything from revolvers called the "Pink Lady" and "Lavender Lady" to pink tasers, glasses and hearing protection.
The store said ladies guns are so popular, especially in pink, that they have a hard time keeping them in stock.
"It just warms my heart when I see pink," Jennifer McKenna, gun owner, said. "I say, oh it's a girl gun and it makes me giggle on the inside."
"I'm definitely more empowered. Oddly enough, it's made me a friendlier person and I'm not scared to engage someone who is approaching me," McKenna said.
So move over gentleman, there's a new sharpshooter in town and she's packing pink."
I think this topic is pretty much settled.
Let's move on to the fiscal aspects of what Senator Kevin de Leon is proposing for our financially crippled state with SB 798.
Hundreds, if not thousands of companies are directly or indirectly tied to the Airsoft industry in California. The whole appeal of the responsible, law-abiding Airsoft majority is that these guns look & feel like the real thing. So much so that more and more LE/Mil agencies are using them as training weapons. Requiring Airsoft guns to be painted entirely in bright colors would kill that appeal. If you kill the appeal, our industry won't heal. In accounting, we'd call that a going concern for the Airsoft industry. If SB 798 wipes out our industry, the government is going to have something of its own wiped out: tax revenue. You know, the stuff that funds things like public infrastructure and our education system, which has been taking a thorough beating for quite some time now? Here's how...
Jag Precision & Spartan Imports both import Airsoft guns into the country through their California-based warehouses. They're kind of super important to the national Airsoft industry, not just California's. They supply wholesale products not just to the California retailers that generate tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in sales from those imported products (very conservative guess), but they also supply many retailers across the rest of the United States. Shutting these importers down and others like them will not only cost California millions of dollars of income tax revenue, but lest we not forget our friends at the CA State Board of Equalization who collect sales & use tax revenue on those same millions of dollars that the Franchise Tax Board gets a piece of as well. Oh yea, all the other states in the country where Airsoft retailers reside & rely upon these wholesalers to supply them with Airsoft products will have less to sell and, therefore, less revenue for taxation. This would bring down not only state tax revenues collected, but also negatively affect federal income taxes as well.
- Payroll Tax Revenues Lost. That's what happens when you shut down an industry that employes thousands of people who earn salaries or wages.
Let's recap what our financially crippled state and federal government have to lose if Senator de Leon's SB 798 passes, from a tax perspective.
- Federal Income Tax (FIT) on profits generated from business operations gone. I can't imagine the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) being pleased with this.
- State Income Tax (SIT) on profits generated from business operations also gone. The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) probably won't look too kindly on this. Or how about this?
- The $800 Minimum Fee for most California Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), C-Corporations, as well as with Sub-Chapter "S" Corporations operating within the state would be gone as well.
- Sales & Use Taxes from the millions of dollars in sales revenue generated from Calfornia-based Airsoft retailers, manufacturers plus other overlapping industries like military/law enforcement apparel manufacturers, suppliers & retailers. Expect a call from the CA Board of Equalization (BOE), Mr. de Leon.
- Personal Income Taxes reported on the Form 1040 for Federal and Form CA540 for California will be reduced. There is some overlapping in this area with the business income I mentioned above, but it depends on the entity. Normally, reduced income taxes would be a plus for the taxpayer, however, you have to consider WHY their taxes were reduced: they lost their source of income. Thus, no bueno not only for the taxpayers, but also for the Federal and State level tax agencies.
- FICA Taxes (Social Security & Medicare taxes) gone.
- Self-Employment Taxes for those businesses operating as sole proprietorships & therefore don't pay into FICA.
Attention, Employment Development Department (EDD), Senator de Leon doesn't want you to collect tax revenue from the following sources:
A) California Unemployment Insurance (UI). I think we have plenty of people unemployed at the moment, many of whom are receiving these benefits. It makes it difficult to clear those checks though if Senator de Leon's bill eliminates an industry-wide workforce who pays into that fund.
B) Employment Training Tax (ETT), which are employer contributions, will no longer be contributed to the state.
C) State Disability Insurance (SDI) revenues would be disabled.
I'm probably missing one or two others as well, but I think you can get a pretty good picture from what I've painted for you thus far.
Individually speaking, many of these taxes have very low percentages, so the dollar amounts per category may not be anything material to the overall picture. However, when you combine them all together, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume the summation of the various tax revenues potentially lost would be a much more noticeable number when it's actually gone. Will these losses take the state into a substantially deeper deficit? No. But things are already so bad, it doesn't seem like the government is in a real great position to justify throwing away good money. Leave that to the rappers, Governor Brown.
I'd also like to point out that when companies go out of business, they no longer need accountants like me to manage their financials. This means reduced accounting fees, which is obviously not a positive aspect either. Less money in my pocket means less money I can turn right around and spend on more Airsoft guns & gear.
So you see, everybody will lose here. Losing should be a crime, not Airsoft. I could go on and on about the negatively enormous ripple effect this bill could have in the fiscal realm, but I'm tired and I can't imagine anyone actually reading this far into perhaps one of my most boring blogs to date.
Not to overshadow the issue of protecting human life here, but I just can't see how this bill will prevent or even reduce that problems it's trying to address. It's going to happen anyway because there are uninvolved parents out there who don't educate their children on some of life's important issues. That's why this bill won't work and part of the reason, coupled with the tax issues I just mentioned, why SB 798 will do more harm than good.
Stay diligent about contacting your state assembly members, especially the democrats who are going to be more likely to vote yes, in favor of passing SB 798. Here is a link to the California Assembly Member Directory. You can set a filter to only show the Democratic members, located at the top of the screen. California Assembly Member Directory.
But before you do, watch this video from the Rapid Fire Review guys:
For more info about SB 798, check out Pyramyd Air's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PyramydAirCom
Airsoft Will Prevail (but only with your help).