The Seattle City Council is expected to cast a final vote Monday on legislation that adds new taxes and regulations on firearms and ammunition sold in the city.
The legislation, which passed unanimously Wednesday by the Education and Governance Committee, would implement a $25 tax on firearms and a 5-cent-per-round tax on ammunition, and would force gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours.
Supporters believe the tax will deter criminals from buying a gun, and tax revenue would go toward violence prevention.
“In my family alone, there have been three incidences of youth being killed or injured by gunfire,” said Seattle City Councilman John Okamoto during the committee meeting, a local Fox affiliate reported. “We can’t stand idle when this is an epidemic in the city.”
But opponents say the measure would only hurt law-abiding and lower-income individuals.
“The burden of regressive taxes like the Seattle proposal falls squarely on those that are least able to afford them,” the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, wrote Friday. “Persons of means will simply drive outside the city to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those without such options will be forced to go forego their rights or pay the tax. This is especially egregious considering how those at the lower end of the economic scale also tend to reside in areas where violent crime is the highest. One wonders whether this type of social engineering on the downtrodden is an intended feature of the legislation rather than an unfortunate consequence.”
SEE ALSO: Seattle passes gun-violence tax bill
Sergey Solyanik, owner of Precise Shooter on Aurora Avenue, gave a similar argument. He said his cheapest option is to sue the city, a local CBS affiliate reported. His next cheapest option would be to move the store. If he stays in the city, he will go out of business under the taxes, he told the station.
“A plaintiff could sue the city, probably for a declaratory judgment declaring the city ordinance invalid as being preempted by state law,” Alison Dempsy-Hall, with Washington’s Office of the Attorney General, told CBS. “The Declaratory Judgments Act requires that any party alleging that a local ordinance is invalid give notice of that claim to the attorney general.”