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From The Editor | Seattle Looks To Break Gun Owners' Bank

From The Editor | Seattle Looks To Break Gun Owners' Bank

It’s no secret that gun-ban advocates have launched a seemingly never-ending push to demonize lawful American gun owners by blaming us for the violent acts of criminals. We see it time and time again, as various politicians—from the municipal level all the way up to the federal level—propose laws and regulations designed to penalize law-abiding gun owners while having no effect on crime.

Now, the Seattle City Council has taken this demonization effort to what might be an all-time low.

The council is considering a proposal by council President Tim Burgess that would place additional city sales taxes on firearms and ammunition, with the money earmarked for “gun violence prevention” programs. Specifically, under the proposal a tax of $25 would be added to each firearm, and a tax of 5 cents would be added to every round of ammunition purchased in the city (a $5 increase per box of 100).

“Gun violence is very expensive,” Burgess told the Seattle Times. “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray those costs, and this is a very reasonable way to do it.”

Zach Silk, campaign manager with the gun-ban group Washington Alliance for Gun Safety, doubled down, even blaming the guns themselves for violent crime (apparently the guns actually commit murders and assaults).Such proposals are simply ways for gun-ban advocates to take a swipe at legal gun ownership and further show their disdain for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“We often attach taxes to things that cause harm to our communities, and we know that guns are causing harm,” Silk said. 

Of course, we all know that blaming law-abiding gun owners for the illegal actions of violent criminals is ridiculous. Even Burgess and Silk know that, but they’d likely never admit it. Such proposals are simply ways for gun-ban advocates to take a swipe at legal gun ownership and further show their disdain for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 

In this case—and this might be the real reason for the proposal—excessively taxing guns and ammo sold within the city limits is a good tactic to financially punish gun and ammo retailers in Seattle. Purchasers of those products can easily travel to one of several gun stores located just outside the city limits to avoid the falsely inflated prices, possibly forcing Seattle gun shops out of business. 

Fortunately for Washington gun owners and gun sellers—who haven’t had a lot of good news lately—it is likely that the proposed firearm and ammo tax scheme will run into legal difficulties. The state’s firearms pre-emption law doesn’t permit cities to set more restrictive gun laws than those already in the state code, and this proposal arguably violates that premise.  

The gun and ammo tax proposal will be considered Wednesday morning at the city council’s Education and Governance Committee meeting. Hopefully other councilors on that committee will have more sense—and more respect for law-abiding gun owners—than Burgess does.

Seattle gun owners should call their city councilors and let them know that law-abiding gun owners are tired of being blamed for criminal violence. Tell them to find other ways to battle violence that aren’t detrimental to lawful citizens who do not use their firearms for criminal purposes.