Cook County, Il., approved a tax on firearms on Friday to help pay health care costs from gun violence, making it what is believed to be the first major U.S. metropolitan area to enact such a levy as a form of gun control, Reuters reports. The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 9-7 to impose a $25 tax on each firearm sold. The tax is expected to raise $600,000 in 2013.
With the vote, the nation’s third most populous county, with nearly 5.2 million residents, becomes the first large U.S. jurisdiction to approve such a measure, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said. “We want to highlight this issue of gun violence and we also want to add to our resources to address it,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. She said 670 victims of gun violence were treated by the county’s health system last year. The average cost per patient was $52,000. There have been 443 murders in Chicago this year, surpassing last year’s 435, and 22 percent more than in the same period a year ago.