In the June 8, 2022, file photo, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, with the group Faith Leaders Ending Gun Violence, protests gun violence outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Credit: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

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Every week guns kill more than 600 of our family and neighbors in the U.S. In all, approximately 40,000 die each year from gun violence. This costs us all more than $200 billion annually, with money from your pocket and my pocket.

Regardless of whether the Second Amendment was written to support the ownership of today’s killing machines, I’m quite certain that it’s not my obligation to pay the cost for this indulgence as a taxpayer who lives quite successfully without an assault rifle. I propose that anyone feeling the need to own a weapon beyond a long rifle, used for traditional hunting, pay their share of the cost for gun violence for this indulgence.

That more than $200 billion split between the gun owners in the U.S. comes to around $3,000 per year. If someone wants to play Rambo and support a culture where our kids hide beneath desks, and we fear for our lives when we walk into a box store or nightclub, then that person pays for it. An annual tax around $3,000 for someone’s right to perpetuate a culture of gun violence. That way, the rest of us can use that more than $200 billion each year to support health care, child care, education or food for the 1 in 5 children in this country who go hungry, in part because we are too busy spending our money cleaning up after another mass shooting.

Steve Kelley