American gun owners could face tens of billions of dollars in new taxes to keep the guns they already own under Democrat Joe Biden's gun ban and tax plan.
At least 20 million rifles and 150 million ammunition magazines would be caught up in the sales ban and registration scheme Biden touted on the campaign trail, according to a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) report. The new taxes would cost Americans more than $34 billion, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.
NSSF told the Washington Free Beacon the sheer number of affected guns and magazines could pose a significant problem for Biden's gun-control plans.
"I think if [Biden and his team] were smart, they would look at those numbers and get an idea of where America stands on gun ownership and gun rights," NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva said.
Biden wants to ban new sales of AR-15 rifles and similar firearms as well as any ammunition magazine holding more than 10 rounds—sizes that come standard on most modern rifles and handguns. He would pay some owners to surrender the affected guns they legally own and force everyone else to register the guns under the National Firearms Act. The proposal would require owners to pay a $200 tax stamp for each item.
The report said the kinds of rifles Biden wants to ban made up nearly half of all rifles produced in 2018. Oliva said the group's estimates may actually be undercounts. While NSSF used the latest Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives manufacturer reports, those only cover up to 2018, and Oliva said AR-15s have continued to grow in popularity since then.
"That manufacturer's report comes out [with] an 18 to 24-month delay," Oliva said. "That number is probably significantly higher now."
Oliva pointed to record sales in 2020 as evidence that the amount of ARs and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds has only increased in recent months. He said the firearms Biden hopes to ban are popular because they offer modularity and customizability while being effective for hunting, sport shooting, and home defense.
The report, which was released Monday, also found that 11.4 million firearms were made or imported into the United States in 2018. A further 9.3 million were made or imported in 2019. That brings the total number of firearms on the American market between 1991 and 2019 up to nearly 214 million.
Oliva said those numbers, combined with the fact that Americans increasingly favor AR-15s and other rifles targeted by Biden and gun-control advocates, are evidence the country is not interested in strict new gun laws.
"America's attitude on gun control is shifting more toward the idea that we need to protect our rights and away from the idea we need government control of our destiny," he said.
The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.