Seattle's gun tax flops

  • 30 August 2017
  • NormanL
Seattle's gun tax flops

Politicians is some areas are always on the lookout for creative new ways to make it harder for people to exercise their Second Amendment rights. In Seattle, for example, the city government imposed a $25 tax on firearms purchases and a 5 cent per round of ammunition tax. The intention was to fund programs to reduce gun violence, and city leaders expected the tax to raise $500,000 in its first year.

But then economic incentives took over, and rather than raising $500,000, the tax only took in $100,000. What do local pols propose to do? Why, raise the tax, of course:

Jon Grant, who is running against Teresa Mosqueda for the seat being vacated Tim Burgess, says Seattle is being hit hard by gun violence and the gun industry needs to be held accountable.

The current tax of $25 per gun and 5 cents per round of ammunition was originally estimated to bring in as much as $500,000 in its first year. The money would be used for gun violence research and programs to reduce gun-related crimes.

The tax brought in just over $100,000 in 2016, according to documents the city recently provided after a public records battle with TheGunMag.

Grant says doubling the tax to $50 a gun and 10 cents per round of ammunition would beef up the research funding and ensure the gun industry shoulder’s some of the costs of gun violence.

Mr. Grant should know that doubling the tax will not increase revenue. Instead, it will raise even less money than today. And as for firearms dealers in the city? Their businesses will suffer as their customers look to make their arms and ammunition purchases in lower tax jurisdictions that still respect the Second Amendment.

And sure enough, one of the city's largest firearms dealers is considering leaving town:

Mike Coombs, owner of the Outdoor Emporium in Seattle, one of the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit challenging the gun violence tax, told Liberty Park Press that ‘I can’t just sit back and keep taking it.”

If he decides to move out of Seattle, he takes along the largest portion of the gun violence tax, approximately 83 percent. He said if the gun and ammunition tax were to double, it would make it impossible to compete with stores outside the city, and it would become prohibitively expensive for people to buy firearms inside the city.

It would, he said, drive gun sales out of the city. That’s exactly what he believes this tax was designed to do, anyway, which makes it a gun control issue, a notion that the state Supreme Court danced around in its ruling earlier this month.

And that is the key point: this is an old fashioned gun control law parading as a tax.

Even if Seattle's politicians have no regard for the Second Amendment, they still have to contend with the laws of economics. Want to raise the tax? Go for it, Seattle. Just don't expect anyone to pay it...the gun dealers will have left town, and taken their tax-generating businesses and jobs to more sensible confines.