After weeks of delays and several amendments, the Tacoma City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved a new $25 tax on each firearm sold in the city, as well as additional taxes on every round of ammunition. The new tax will take effect next July, and is expected to raise about $30,000 for the city. The money will supposedly be used for programs to “prevent gun violence”, and one amendment to the ordinance recommends (but does not require) the funds be used for a “gun buyback” program.
According to the Tacoma News-Tribune, gun owners and opponents of the tax were out in force during the city council meeting, but their concerns fell on deaf ears.
The council chambers was standing-room only the night of the vote. Many spoke out against the tax during public comment.
Some worried that the tax would only hurt responsible and low-income gun owners and those trying to protect themselves and won’t decrease crime. They asked for council to instead asked for stricter enforcement of laws already on the books.
“Everyday firearms protect life. It’s our personal protection,” Jane Milhans, a local certified firearm instructor, said during public comment.
Employees from Aero Precision, a manufacturer of firearms in Tacoma that employs more than 400, came to speak in opposition.“This type of regressive tax really impacts our ability to be competitive,” Aero Precision CEO Scott Dover said during public comment.
One Aero Precision employee said no one from the council had ever reached out prior to the tax proposal.
“We were a ghost to all of you. No one even knew we existed,” he said.