Tuesday vote on proposed Tacoma, WA gun, ammo tax

After postponing a vote on the proposed gun and ammunition tax in Tacoma, WA until a week after the municipal election, the city council is now poised to vote on the measure Tuesday evening, and grassroots gun rights activists are planning to be there.

The Tacoma, WA city council is poised to vote on a controversial gun and ammunition tax proposal Tuesday. (Dave Workman photo)

Even the Tacoma News Tribune editorialized about the postponement of the vote.

“Council member Ryan Mello, who’s sponsoring the tax plan,” the editorial observed, “acknowledged the palpable public frustration, telling the TNT: ‘This happens on high-profile issues that get a lot of scrutiny; sometimes they get postponed at the last minute.’

“Well, OK,” the newspaper added. “But you know what else happens with high-profile issues that get a lot of scrutiny? They get kicked down the road until after elections.”

This vote will come days after Mayor Victoria Woodards provided a bizarre explanation for the proposed tax to KCPQ’s Brandi Kruse.

“While this tax won’t stop gun violence,” Woodards admitted, “it will help pay for the damage that guns cause. It’s not to take away anybody’s Second Amendment right, but it’s to help pay for some of the causes of what guns bring to a community.”

So Kruse asked the mayor what she would say to law-abiding gun owners who argue they’re not causing damage to anyone and aren’t responsible for the city’s violent crime.

“That’s like saying, ‘My car is in the driveway and I only drive it two days a week, not seven days a week, but every time I go to the gas station, I still have to pay the tax when I fill it up,” the mayor responded.

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson was so stunned by that response he was compelled to call it “a ridiculous analogy.”

“Driving a car and paying a gas tax are not similar to owning a gun and paying a tax,” Monson observed at “Guns are guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Cars are not. They are a privilege.”

Perhaps the most active opponent to the proposed tax—which is patterned after an identical tax in Seattle, that was patterned after a similar tax in Cook County, Illinois—is M.J. Muehlhans. She has almost singlehandedly organized opposition to the tax. Two weeks ago, her activism brought a standing-room-only overflow crowd to the Tacoma council meeting, and they were almost uniformly opposed.

Mayor Woodards is a co-sponsor of the proposal, which is now getting support from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, the New York-based gun prohibition lobbying group. In a Monday email blast to local anti-gunners, Everytown invited supporters of the gun control agenda to send a message to the Tacoma Council “and let them know: Pass the firearm and ammunition tax!”

Since Seattle adopted its gun/ammo tax four years ago, murders have gone up in the city, one of the two major gun stores has relocated to a different city in a neighboring county, and revenues from the gun tax have steadily declined.

The Seattle tax was challenged by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation. The state Supreme Court allowed the tax, despite clear language in Washington’s 35-year-old preemption statute that appears to prohibit such a tax.

“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, 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.”

Tuesday evening’s council session could be a sizzler.


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