Seattle, Washington, already has pretty hefty taxes on firearms sales, but city lawmakers unanimously approved a new bill to raise those taxes by a significant margin.
The proposal was introduced last month by Council President Tim Burgess and was approved Monday with an 8-0 vote. Currently, Seattle’s taxes on firearms sales is 9.6%, but when the measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2016, residents can expect to pay an additional $25 for all firearms and .5 cents per round of ammunition.
Burgess introduced the bill under the guise of “gun safety,” though it’s difficult to see how pilfering the pockets of gun owners correlates to a reduction of gun-related crime.
“City government can and must pursue innovative gun safety measures that save lives and save money,” said Burgess. “As it has in other areas of policy, Seattle can lead the way in local solutions.”
The anticipated $500,000 in annual revenue from the new bill won’t be applied to Seattle’s health care obligations on gunshot care, but it will be used to fund research and mandatory reporting programs.
Monday’s vote attracted a crowd of gun control supporters, including Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.
“Life is precious,” said Grandmothers Against Gun Violence member Karen Wickstrand, 72, who marched with nearly 30 other GAGV members on City Hall before the vote. “When people are killed for no reason, that’s tragic.”
But many oppose the increased taxation, claiming it as an assault on civil rights.
“We have already sued them under the Washington preemption law and won before,” Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb told Guns.com. “They make winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time fun!”
And the National Rifle Association says the new measure will yield far less money than expected. They anticipate it will only serve to ostracize those who are unable to afford it.
“The burden of regressive taxes like the Seattle proposal falls squarely on those that are least able to afford them,” said the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Persons of means will simply drive outside the city to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those without such options will be forced to go forego their rights or pay the tax.”
(This article was submitted by freelance writer Brent Rogers)