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Washington: Tacoma To Repeat Seattle’s Mistakes With Proposed Gun Tax

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On August 27th, the Tacoma City Council will be hosting a study session to consider an ordinance that would allow the city to levy a tax on all firearms and ammunition sales.  Please contact Tacoma City Council members and urge them to OPPOSE this proposed tax.

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This $25 per firearm and $0.05 per cartridge of ammunition tax, proposed by Council Member Ryan Mello, is based off the one imposed in Seattle in 2015, which was strongly opposed by the NRA.  The NRA opposes this tax for the same reasons, primarily because the ordinance would punish law-abiding gun owners and retailers in Tacoma, while doing nothing to hinder criminals or reduce crimes involving firearms.  A Department of Justice survey of state and federal inmates found that only a small fraction of them acquired firearms through the type of retail sale that would be subject to the proposed tax.  The overwhelming majority of offenders obtained firearms through “friends or family” or a “street/illegal source.”  While sport shooters and those who train for self-defense often use hundreds of rounds of ammunition during a range trip or plinking session, the evidence suggests criminals use very little ammunition.

Additionally, this measure would disproportionately impact lower income residents who seek to exercise their Second Amendment rights.  City residents wealthy enough to have convenient access to transportation would just travel outside of the city in order to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those with lesser means, such as those who might be restricted to public transportation, would be less able to avoid the tax.

We do not need to look outside the state to see that taxes of this nature do not deliver on their proponents’ promise of increasing public safety and funding “gun violence programs and research.”  After the implementation of the tax in Seattle, shooting crimes did not decrease, and in fact, actually increased according to Seattle Police Department data.  Furthermore, the tax did not generate nearly the amount of revenue that had been projected.  The enactment of Seattle’s “gun violence tax” has been followed by more violent crime, and instead of the special tax fund, all taxpayers are reportedly footing the bill for the gun violence program.

Again, please contact Tacoma City Council members and urge them to OPPOSE this proposed tax.

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