In protest of a recent gun control law passed in Seattle, Wash. a local gun shop has halted the sale of guns and ammunition. Their next step will be to pack up and leave.
Sergey Solyanik, the owner of Precise Shooter, warned the city that he would move his shop out of town if the law went into effect and is now making good on his promise. He plans to move his shop just outside of Seattle to Lynnwood, part of the greater metropolitan area, just out of reach of the new tax law. The new location is expected to open in mid-February.
Seattle’s gun tax law raises the price of all firearms by $25 and the cost of ammunition by 2 to 5 cents per round. Solyanik argued against the proposal, saying that the tax was too high and would impair his ability to compete.
“It would make us unprofitable,” said Solyanik to the Seattle Times. “I calculated it by retroactively applying the tax to our existing sales—I’m a software developer, so I can do that—and we would be operating at a loss for the entire store.”
The tax was proposed last summer by Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess and signed into law in August of 2015. The law went into effect on Jan. 1. Revenue from the new tax is to be used to pay for research on ways to prevent gun violence.
“People who shoot up people in the streets—they don’t come here to get guns. They get them on the streets,” Solyanik said. “It’s just collective punishment for all of us.”
“We are all disappointed,” said Solyanik. “We feel that, basically, a crockpot politician was trying to buttress his ‘progressive’ credentials and we got run over.” By halting sales, Solyanik is denying the city any revenue from the gun tax from his shop, as well as sales taxes after he leaves.
“Burgess doesn’t expect any money from this. In fact, there will be a net loss for this city. This location brings in roughly $50,000 in sales tax revenue, so that is all going to be gone next year.”
Seattle estimates that the tax will raise up to $500,000 annually.
Although the city council passed the law unanimously, it’s already being challenged jointly by the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation.
“Once again, anti-gun activists in Seattle have chosen to violate the Washington State Constitution and trample upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “They tried to enact similar regulations back in 2009 and lost. It’s a shame to see such a waste of public resources on issues the courts have already ruled to be a clear violation of state law.”
“We’ve been down this path before with Seattle when we sued them and won, knocking out their attempt to ban guns in city park facilities,” said the SAF’s Alan Gottlieb. “They city does not seem to understand that no matter how they wrap this package, it’s still a gun control law and it violates Washington’s long-standing preemption statute.”
The Washington state constitution explicitly forbids municipalities from passing any gun regulations that are stricter than state law without authorization from the state legislature.