Seattle's Ammo Tax A Fundraising Failure

When Seattle pushed its ammunition tax, there was a lot of talk about just how much money would be raised. That’s the topic that comes up with virtually every tax every conceived, after all. I mean, isn’t the purpose of a tax to raise money?

Well, it is except when it isn’t.

Many taxes are about discouraging certain behaviors–of course, how people can support that and not see the irony in there being an income tax is beyond me–which is also a thing.

Seattle’s ammo tax was billed a something of both. However, it seems that as fundraising goes, it’s a spectacular failure.

Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” continues to fall far short of the promised returns. Recent figures show that while there was a slight bump in taxes collected, the only thing the tax succeeded in doing was driving constitutionally-protected gun businesses from the city limits.

The tax is in its fourth year and has yet to live up to expectations. In 2015, Seattle’s city council approved a $25 tax on every gun and 5 cents on each round of ammunition sold. The architects of the plan promised it would bring in $500,000 annually that would be used toward gun violence research at the city’s Harborview Medical Center.

Numbers Don’t Lie

It’s yet to even come close to that goal. Last year, the city collected $85,352, which is only $7,800 more than the $77,518 collected in 2018, according to a report from the Second Amendment Foundation.

The first that year tax figures were available was 2016, which saw just $103,766 collected. The next year, figures fell to $93,220 and 2018 saw them at just $77,518. This year’s collections report of $85,352 is a slight rise, but if the back-of-the-napkin math is correct, it is still short by $414,648 of what Seattle city council gun control politicians promised.

So, how did they shortfall happen?

Well, because as noted in the first paragraph of the quoted section, it pushed law-abiding gun businesses from the city itself. They moved outside the city limits where people could still reach it and spend money, but not have to pay an idiotic tax that would do nothing except be misused to push an anti-gun agenda.

What the city failed to account for is that people, particularly gun owners, aren’t known for just rolling over and playing dead. We’re kind of notorious for stepping up and stepping around burdensome regulations like that, especially when we can do it and still be law-abiding. That’s precisely what happened here. Folks just moved to where they could be left alone.

And, as a result, the city is losing out on other tax money that no one had an issue paying in the first place.

After all, those stores that aren’t in the city aren’t paying business licenses or business taxes. They aren’t charging any sales taxes the city wants to collect. They’re now not paying anything into the city’s coffers. Instead, the outlying areas who didn’t get stupid are reaping the benefits.

Honestly, the stupidity is mindboggling here.

Then again, what do you expect from an anti-gun city that hasn’t bothered to understand gun owners in the least?