Seattle’s New ‘Gun Violence Tax’ on Guns & Ammo
Russ Chastain 08.12.15
Seattle, WA – In yet another bonehead move by government officials, the city council of Seattle voted unanimously Monday in favor of a tax on all sales of guns and ammunition within city limits.
At the same time, they passed a law making it a crime if you should fail to report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours.
Land of the free, you say? Not so much.
Both measures are reportedly supported by Seattle mayor Ed Murray.
The gun tax law is modeled after a 2013 gun & ammo tax in Cook County, IL (think Chicago), which has already been the subject of litigation.
Seattle’s new law is clearly aimed at punishing citizens and retailers for buying and selling firearms and ammunition. City council president Tim Burgess called the recent changes “innovative gun safety measures,” but as all thinking people know, criminals don’t buy their guns in gun shops anyhow. This new tax will serve only to put gun shops out of business and force law-abiding citizens to travel farther to buy their guns outside of city limits.
The tax plans to steal $25 per firearm and 2 to 5 cents per cartridge. While city officials predict monetary gains in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, it’s far more likely that most gun shops will simply close their doors, and most gun buyers will go elsewhere. Any “profit” reaped by this tax will very likely be spent trying to defend it in court.
Perhaps the only good news here is that the new rules are unlikely to stand up to litigation–although of course we the people should never have to constantly fight our rulers after the fact. Washington state law restricts local governments from making firearms laws that are not specifically authorized by state law, but Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes claims the new sin tax is allowable because it is a tax.
Alan Gottlieb, co-founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, a pro-gun foundation that has often taken to the courts to defend our Second Amendment rights, knows better. Seattle should, too, since the city was forced via lawsuit in 2010 to abandon a ban on guns in parks.
Said Gottleib, “The courts aren’t going to buy it. This is not authorized by state law, and therefore it’s not going to hold up.”
I hope he’s right.