Republicans Announce RIFLE Act to Eliminate NFA Tax

Sen. Tom Cotton and a dozen GOP colleagues have introduced the RIFLE Act, to remove the $200 tax on NFA-regulated firearms and suppressors. Img. Jim Grant

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and a dozen of his Senate Republican colleagues have introduced legislation to eliminate the $200 tax imposed by the government since 1934 on firearms and suppressors (silencers) regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The legislation is known as the Repealing Illegal Freedom and Liberty Excises (RIFLE) Act.

Joining Cotton as co-sponsors are fellow Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott (Florida), Roger Marshall (Kansas), Steve Daines (Montana), Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts (Nebraska), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), John Cornyn (Texas), and John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming). Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Iowa has introduced companion legislation in the House, Cotton’s office noted in a release.

According to the announcement from Cotton’s office, the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation both endorsed the RIFLE Act. Add to that the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which said in a statement to the media it has “energetically thrown its support” behind the measure.

“For decades, law-abiding American citizens choosing to own NFA-regulated firearms have been required to pay unnecessary taxes to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” explained CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This is, and always has been, wrong and we’re delighted Senator Cotton and a dozen of his Senate colleagues have made this important move to correct the problem. We’re encouraged by Rep. Hinson’s introduction of companion legislation in the House that this measure will get the attention it deserves.

“Over the past few years,” Gottlieb continued, “ownership of NFA-regulated items has increased by more than 250 percent. The use of suppressors primarily as hearing protection at shooting ranges, and for hunting, is expanding. The RIFLE Act would only remove the tax on these items, while leaving other requirements including background checks and registration in place. We’re encouraging gun owners to support Senator Cotton’s legislation.”

Cotton listed the following facts about this legislation, which would not impact the long-standing Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration/Pittman-Robertson excise tax supporting state and federal wildlife programs:

  • The 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates short-barreled shotguns and rifles, fully automatic firearms, suppressors, and a catchall category of explosives. In addition to background checks and registration, NFA regulated items have a $200 tax.
  • The ATF has acknowledged the tax was intended “to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions” of firearms. The $200 tax, unchanged since 1934, is equivalent to $4,648 in today’s dollars.
  • Since 2018, ownership of NFA regulated items have grown by more than 250% as more sportsmen, shooters and firearm enthusiasts exercise their Second Amendment right.
  • The RIFLE Act does not modify the current checks and registration; it solely removes the federally mandated financial burden on law-abiding gun owners.

“Law-abiding Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights should not be subject to unnecessary taxes and restrictions preventing them from doing so,” Sen. Cotton said. “Passed into law in 1934, the National Firearms Act needs to be amended. Our legislation will remove the red tape that places an undue financial burden on would-be gun owners.”

“The federal government should not be placing financial barriers on the inalienable rights of Americans,” Rep. Hinson concurred. “This unconstitutional tax on certain firearm purchases is a direct violation of the Second Amendment and must be repealed. As the Biden Administration and Democrats push proposals that unfairly target law-abiding gun owners, I will continue to stand up for Iowans’ right to keep and bear arms.”

“The RIFLE Act does not modify the current checks and registration; it solely removes the federally mandated financial burden on law-abiding gun owners,” Cotton’s press release emphasized.

According to Fox News, Ambler Law attorney Oliver Krawczyk asserted that the current taxes on NFA firearms are “indistinguishable from poll taxes.”

Krawczyk specializes in Second Amendment law, the Fox report noted.

“This would undermine the constitutional basis of the NFA altogether,” Krawczyk observed, “because it’s a purported exercise of Congress’s enumerated taxing power. But the Founders would have scoffed at the notion that it could be a felony to possess a short-barreled rifle or shotgun in the first place.”

Whether the measure gains traction on Capitol Hill remains in question. Not a single Democrat has signed on, and they hold the majority in the Senate. Republicans, meanwhile, have a thin House majority, where Hinson’s companion bill might fare better.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

Republicans Announce RIFLE Act to Eliminate NFA Tax is written by Dave Workman for

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