No one has ever unjustly accused Seattle’s liberal government of using their brains when emotions were available, and that inability to act intelligently is likely going to lead to the city into a costly lawsuit if Mayor Ed Murray signs in law a “gun violence tax” that clearly runs afoul of state preemption laws.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, says it intends to file a lawsuit challenging the City of Seattle’s recently approved sales tax of $25 on each firearm sold and five cents for each round of ammunition (two cents for .22 caliber).
NSSF and other pro-gun groups fought the legislation, labeled a “gun violence tax,” but the City Council nevertheless approved the ordinance on August 10. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has indicated support for the measure. NSSF today sent the mayor a letter urging him to veto the unlawful tax and letting him know that if the law was enacted “NSSF will have no alternative but to file a lawsuit” against the City to invalidate this unlawful regulation of the lawful sale of firearms and ammunition on the grounds that it violates Washington state’s preemption statute that blocks cities from regulating the sale of firearms. Additionally, the letter points out that the tax burdens citizens from exercising their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm.
“This ordinance will do little to promote public safety and instead will place an undue burden on both federally licensed firearms retailers and law-abiding citizens who want to purchase firearms, particularly people in less well-off circumstances,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of NSSF. “This law is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business.”
If I were a Seattle taxpayer, I’d be furious that the city council and Mayor Murray are going to force an expensive and apparently doomed lawsuit for what appears to be nothing more or less than political theater.