Gun grabbers on Seattle’s city council have come up with a new to drive gun dealers out of town – taxing every round of ammunition and every gun that is legally sold in the city.
“The only real purpose of this legislation is to run gun stores out of Seattle,” gun shop owner Sergey Solyanik told the Associated Press.
Under the measure, which the council approved unanimously, the city will levy a $25 tax on each firearm sold and collect a two to five cent sales tax for every round of ammunition sold, The Seattle Times reported. The ordinance places a tax of two cents on ammo that is smaller than .22 caliber, and a five cent levy on rounds over .22 caliber.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told The Times that he will sign the ordinance into law.
“Gun violence is very expensive,” City Council President Tim Burgess – the author of the tax legislation – told The Times.
Burgess claims it costs Seattle taxpayers around $12 million a year to treat gunshot victims at Harborview Medical Center, a city hospital.
“It’s time for the gun industry to help defray those costs and this is a very reasonable way to do it,” Burgess said.
Burgess estimated that the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. The money would be used to fund a gunshot intervention program and study.
“Gun violence is a public-health crisis in our city and our nation,” Burgess said. “City government can and must pursue innovative gun-safety measures that save lives and save money. As it has in other areas of policy, Seattle can lead the way.”
Solyanik told the city council that gun shops simply will move immediately outside the city limits – and that Seattle will end up losing all of the stores’ tax revenue.
Is it Legal?
The tax measure would not take effect until January 1, 2016, but it may not survive legal challenges. There is a Washington State law that specifically gives the power to regulate to firearms to the state government alone. RCW 9.41.290 states:
“The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law.”
Burgess contends that his ordinance is legal because it is a tax and not a regulation. Gun-control opponents have already promised to sue Seattle.
“They’re wrong and they know it,” Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation told The Times. “They’re just wearing their anti-gun philosophy on their sleeves.”
In 2010, Gottlieb’s group successfully sued Seattle over an ordinance that banned guns in city parks. City Attorney Pete Holmes said Seattle is prepared for the legal battle over the statute.
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