In October, the Tacoma Washington City Council heard its first reading of a new ordinance related to taxing firearms and ammunition. And this week it was signed into law, putting the burden on law abiding citizens and local business owners.

Ordinance 28623— the “Firearms and Ammunition Tax” — imposes the following: a tax on firearms and ammunition to consist of $25.00 per firearm sold at retail, $0.02 per round of ammunition .22 caliber or less, and $0.05 per round of other ammunition sold at retail to raise revenue for funding programs that promote public safety, prevent gun violence, and help offset the impacts and costs of gun violence in the City.

The tax was proposed by Tacoma Council Member Ryan Mello, who explained his reasoning behind the tax as a way ‘to fund gun violence prevention programs in the city’. 

“Part of what we’re doing here… the various programs that we need to enact to reduce gun violence takes funding and I think it is fundamentally unfair for all of us who are non-gun users to bare all of the burden of gun violence in our community,” Mello said. 

This week, that ordinance was passed into law, and will go into effect July 1, 2020.

Mellow also stated, “This isn’t just about mass shootings.  Gun violence happens in urban centers like Tacoma all the time, and they’re really ripping communities apart.”

 

As imagined, the meeting that took place this week brought out over 100 individuals to speak regarding the tax – both for and against the new law.

Some say that opponents of the tax claim it could put a strain on small businesses in the area, as many law-abiding gun owners will now just drive over state lines to avoid paying the extra fees.

KING 5 reported that, “Bruce Smith, manager at Surplus Ammo & Arms said that since ammunition is bought in bulk, the taxes would add a hefty price. In his shop, a 1,000-round box of 9 mm ammunition sells at $170. The tax would add $50 to that, making the total $220.”

Another gun shop owner Mary Davies of Mary’s Pistols in Tacoma spoke regarding the tax.

“I’m certain I will close. It’s the principle that people will have to pay for what they think is their right. You would not pay a tax to vote, pay a tax for free speech.”

However, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears with councilmember Mello.

“Gun violence is a real problem with 40,000 gun-related deaths in 2018, and 22 gun-related homicides in Tacoma this year alone. This is a modest tax to fund gun violence prevention programs in Tacoma. This is about making our community safer.”

King 5 news also reported that the tax was slated to go into effect January 1, 2020, but they pushed it to July 1, 2020 with officials stating “they will continue to look at the tax and work with community groups over the next several months to see what, if anything, should be changed before it’s implemented.”

It should be noted that both Chicago and Seattle have similar taxes that were enacted in 2015.

As explained by TheNewAmerican.com, “Chicago is one of the world’s most violent cities. In 2018, 530 people were murdered in Chicago. So, who’s going to tell Tacoma city councilmen that if they’re wanting to ‘prevent gun violence’ as the ordinance claims, they’re going to have to start looking around for a better bill?”

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The website dug further into the bill that was enacted in Seattle in 2015, “Dave Workman reported on the “law’s” progress since passage:

“When Seattle pushed through the tax, proponents predicted it would raise between $300,000 and $500,000. In reality, the first year brought in $103,766, the second year saw revenue drop to $93,220 and last year the city brought in only $77,518. The gun tax caused one of Seattle’s two major gun dealers [to] move his business to Lynnwood, in a neighboring county. The other major shop began referring its customers to a separate store outside the city, also in another county, so the city not only lost out on the gun tax, it lost the Business & Occupation taxes as well.”

 

Will this become the new norm and reality for cities and states as a way to make money off of law-abiding gun owners?  Because as far as I can tell, the black market doesn’t add in extra taxes. 

Not to mention how this is not a business-friendly law put into effect by the city and will likely result in hard working individuals having to move their businesses or close their doors. 

Is this further continuation of the government’s attempt to slowly disarm its citizens?  While it’s a slow moving process, it seems to be happening, and then what?

 


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