NRA Loses Fight Against Seattle's 'Gun Violence' Tax

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Grandmothers Against Gun Violence Protest In SeattleGrandmothers Against Gun Violence Protest In Seattle

The new tax on firearms and ammunition sales in Seattle, Washington, will stand, based on a ruling by a King County Supreme Court judge.

In August, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation that would institute a gun violence tax on the sellers of firearms and ammunition in the city. The new tax would require $25 be paid by firearms dealers for every firearm sold and $0.05 for every round of ammunition sold, according to a news release posted to the city council’s website.

The revenue from the tax will be used to fund prevention programs and research whose purpose is to reduce the burden of gun violence on Seattle residents and neighborhoods.

"Taxpayers in Seattle pay for millions of dollars in emergency medical care every year for people who have been shot," Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess said in the release. "It's time for the gun industry to chip in to help defray these costs."

The National Rifle Association did not agree, and filed a suit claiming the legislation violated a state law that bars municipalities from enacting firearm legislation, Reuters reports.

Judge Palmer Robinson sided with the city council, stating the NRA’s claim that the tax violated state law was false and in fact the legislation was a “lawful exercise of Seattle’s taxing authority.”

The NRA and other pro-gun groups said they will appeal the decision.

"We are going to fight this vigorously in defense of a state preemption law that has served Washington citizens well for more than three decades," Alan Gottlieb, founder of the pro-gun rights group Second Amendment Foundation, said.

The pro-gun groups are also calling on customers to purchase firearms and ammunition from outside the city limits to avoid the tax.

"Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety," Burgess said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

Chicago, Illinois, is the only other municipality in the U.S. with an individual tax on gun sales, according to the NRA.

The Seattle City Budget Office estimates the gun violence tax will raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

Sources: Seattle City Council, Reuters / Photo credit: Seattle City Council