A King County, Wash., Superior Court judge will hear arguments Dec. 18 in the high-profile lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s controversial “gun violence tax” by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Plaintiffs contend that the tax, which levies a fee of $25 on the sale of each firearm and a nickel on the sale of each centerfire cartridge, is a violation of Washington State’s 32-year-old preemption statute. Seattle tried once before to dance around the law with a ban on guns in city park facilities, but a SAF-NRA lawsuit that was joined by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and others derailed that effort.
“Our motion shows that members of the city council brainstormed with members of local gun control groups to try to skirt the preemption law,” stated SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in a press release. “This so-called ‘gun violence tax’ clearly seeks to limit access to firearms and ammunition by imposing what amounts to a regulatory fee on the sale of all firearms and ammunition within City limits. The city can’t do that, and we’re confident the court will tell them so.”
SAF, NRA, and their fellow plaintiffs had asked for a hearing before the tax is supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, hoping that it is stopped before it gets started. No matter which way the judge rules, there will almost certainly be an appeal.
Opponents of the gun tax say people buying guns and ammunition will simply take their business out of the city. At least one of the handful of gun dealers in the city has already intimated he may take his business out of the city.
The tax is supposed to raise funds to finance gun control “research” and gun violence intervention projects. But critics say law-abiding gun owners should not be forced to pay for gun control projects.
A similar tax was imposed two years ago in Cook County, Ill. Since then, the number of homicides has actually gone up.