Anti-Gun Taxes in Seattle are a Failure
In a veiled attempt to find yet another way to eliminate private ownership of guns, the City of Seattle imposed a guns and ammunition tax in 2015.
The tax, city planners promised, would help to defray the costs of gun violence along with easing the prevalence of gun crimes in the city. By 2017, tax revenues had fallen far short of expectations. Now, in 2019, gun violence in Seattle is at an all-time high.
Dave Workman, senior editor of TheGunMag.com and a member of the Second Amendment Foundation says evidence the plan has been a failure is undeniable.
“How much data do you need?” asked Workman. “The data says the law has failed to prevent what they promised it would prevent.”
Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess convinced the council the $25 tax on every firearm and 5 cents tax on every round of ammunition would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 each year. The revenue, he said, would generate studies into the root causes of gun violence. The end result would be a reduction in costs to taxpayers.
Except it wasn’t.
Seattle officials were unwilling to say how much tax revenue was realized in 2017, the first year the measure went into effect. It took a suit by several gun rights groups to find the exact amount was less than $200,000.
Mike Coombs, owner of Outdoor Emporium, the last major gun dealer that remains in Seattle, estimates that actual tax revenue in 2018 was just over $100,000.
Meanwhile, Coombs said sales are down 20 percent store-wide and gun sales have fallen 60 percent.
Plus, there’s evidence people are simply going outside the city to purchase guns where local owners sales are robust. Sergey Solyanik, owner of Precise Shooter in the nearby city of Lynnwood said, “business has never been better.”
Undaunted by lawsuits that have held up what tax revenue the measure has realized, Seattle has reached into its general fund to finance gun violence research study at Harborview Medical Center to the tune of $550,000.
The goal of that study is to connect gunshot victims with social services “in hopes of not seeing them in the emergency room again.” But gunshot victims are showing back up for treatment in growing numbers.
Dr. Fred Rivara, a professor at the University of Washington’s pediatrics department and director of the research admits “there’s a great deal of recidivism.” He said, “These individuals are much more likely to come back with other gunshot wounds, to commit subsequent crimes, violent crime, to be murdered.”
Seattle police believe the increase in gunshot victims can be linked to the drug trade and gang revenge. Supporters of the gun tax say it too early to know why the measure has not had the desired results.
Allison Anderman of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and supporter of gun taxes said calling the gun tax and gun violence study failures are “way too premature.” She defended the gun tax saying, “The causes of gun violence are very complex. To say this one study is lacking because it hasn’t solved the problem of gun violence in Seattle is, frankly, laughable.”
Dave Workman says the city council should have been able to predict the results of the gun tax — gun dealers leaving the city and no drop in gun ownership. He adds, “All these gun control laws affect the wrong people. The gang bangers don’t go in and buy ammunition at retail, at least not around here.”
Seattle is not new to gun control experiments that have gone awry. In 2014, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility championed a $10.2 million measure to require so-called “universal background checks” including “limited” exceptions for family members.
Gang bangers have not bothered with background checks nor frequented local gun shows where city law also requires background checks.
While tax revenue falls, gun violence is on the rise. Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb recently said, “[The city’s] gun violence tax has been a miserable flop. It has provided a false sense of accomplishment while penalizing business owners and the law-abiding citizens they once served.”
All told the five years long gun tax experiment has proven to be a total failure. Gun tax revenue fell to a miserable $77,518 in 2018.
Its unfortunate Seattle citizens have to pay for lawmakers’ failures with their lives.