Showdown in Seattle Over New Gun-Violence Tax

Can the new ordinance hold up under pressure from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups?

Showdown in Seattle Over New Gun-Violence Tax Photo (cc) by gruntzooki

Three gun-rights groups are suing the city of Seattle over its adoption of a gun and ammunition tax.

Just days after the so-called gun-violence tax was signed into law, the National Rifle Association, in conjunction with the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Washington, filed suit, claiming the city is violating a state law that prohibits municipalities from authorizing their own gun regulations, The Associated Press reports.

“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable,” the lawsuit said. “The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”

Two individual gun purchasers and two Seattle gun shops also joined the suit against the city.

“The Seattle ordinance is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation General Counsel Lawrence Keane, a plaintiff.

The gun-violence tax was unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council this month and signed into law by the mayor on Friday. Beginning in January, it imposes a $25 tax on every firearm sold in Seattle and a 5- or 2-cent tax (depending on the caliber) on every bullet, according to CNN Money.

The city aims to raise $300,000 to $500,000 per year, to offset some of the cost of gun violence. Seattle estimates that taxpayers pick up $12 million of the annual $17 million in medical costs from gunshots.

The revenue the tax generates would also be used for gun-safety research and programs aimed at gun-violence prevention.

Seattle’s city attorney, Pete Holmes, maintains that the gun-violence tax is legal under the city’s taxing authority, the AP said.

A companion measure to the gun-violence tax requires that gun owners report lost and stolen firearms to law enforcement.

Chicago has a similar tax on guns and ammunition, the NRA said.

What do you think of the lawsuit against Seattle’s new gun tax? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Krystal Steinmetz
Krystal Steinmetz
A former television and radio reporter, I stay at home with my two young children, run a small craft business and freelance for Money Talks News. I have a BA in journalism ... More


862 Active Deals

More Deals