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State

Gun dealers' lawsuit targets new Cook County tax

CHICAGO – A group of Chicago-area gun shops and gun owners are suing in an attempt to stop a new $25 tax on gun purchases in Cook County.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court claim the new tax violates the right to bear arms. The tax goes into effect April 1 and is projected to bring in $600,000 this year.

"There's enough taxes on those already – we pay a sales tax. [And] I had to pay $100 to qualify to purchase a gun – and I think I've paid enough," Chicago resident and plaintiff Deborah Gowder told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed the gun tax as part her $2.9 billion 2013 budget and said it would be a way to make up for the costs to taxpayers that result from gun violence.

The suit argues there is no link between legal gun purchases and criminal activity.

Preckwinkle's spokeswoman, Kristen Mack, said county officials are confident the special tax will withstand legal challenge.

"When we proposed this tax in the fall, we expected it to be contentious," Mack said in a statement. "President Preckwinkle maintains she won't make decisions on the basis of whether or not somebody is going to sue the county, otherwise we'd never make bold proposals."

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