Seattle city council president Tim Burgess’ proposed ordinance that the city impose a $25 tax on all firearms and a 5-cent tax on every round of ammo will move forward. The revenues from this “gun violence tax,” as they’re calling it, will go to help the city’s gun control efforts.
First of all, this proposed ordinance will be in violation of state law, and since gun control proponents are all about being in compliance with the law, they should consider this. State law prohibits cities and other municipalities from enacting firearm restrictions that aren’t consistent with state law. The state of Washington imposes no such “gun violence tax.” Therefore, Seattle can’t either. Here’s what RCW 9.41.290 states:
“…Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”
So, technically, even if this ordinance passes, it would be considered “preempted and repealed.” But that’s not going to stop the city from trying, and numerous gun rights groups and gun shops would surely sue the city on state preemption grounds.
But even if there were no legal issue, what do you think will happen once the law takes effect? The price of ammo will go up, and guns will be a bit more expensive. Then, what will happen? Customers will go outside city limits to buy ammo where it isn’t taxed so much. They’ll get a gun somewhere else where that $25 tax isn’t imposed. Guns shops themselves will relocate so that they won’t lose business.
The city council actually thought that this tax would bring in an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 in revenues annually. That’s not going to happen.
But see, I don’t think this is about revenues so much as driving the gun industry out of the city. They know that gun shops will eventually relocate. Perhaps that’s exactly what they want.
What’s next? There might be a hefty “gun violence tax” on all gun owners’ firearms and ammo. If you don’t want to be slapped with the tax, you’ll have to move out of the city. They’re trying to drive guns out of the city, one step at a time.
Let’s hope this ordinance doesn’t pass legal muster.