October 26th, 2015

Seattle Gun and Ammo Tax Challenged by Firearms Groups

Seattle Gun ammo tax

Seattle recently passed a law imposing special taxes on the sale of guns and ammunition. Labeled a “gun violence” tax, the Seattle ordinance is designed to discourage firearms use and, presumably, drive gun and ammo vendors out of the city. City Council President Tim Burgess, author of the controversial Seattle ordinance, likened the gun/ammo levy to “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco: “We’ve been working on this for several years. We tax cigarettes and alcohol and even wood-burning stoves for public health purposes. Why not guns and ammunition?”

Opponents of the new law have taken the city to court. The NRA, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), NSSF and other organizations have challenged the so-called “gun violence tax” recently passed by the Seattle City Council. A motion for summary judgment has been filed citing Washington State’s long-standing preemption statute which “fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state.”

Gun group lawyers argued that the city “is well aware of this restriction on its legislative power” because Seattle’s most recent attempt to regulate firearms was emphatically struck down by the Court of Appeals in the case of Chan vs. Seattle. (That lawsuit derailed an attempt by the city under former Mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn to ban guns in city park facilities.)

Seattle Gun ammo tax

“Seattle is trying to be too clever by half,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “This so-called ‘gun violence tax’ clearly seeks to limit access to firearms and ammunition by imposing what amounts to a regulatory fee on the sale of all firearms and ammunition within City limits. The city can’t do that, and we’re confident the court will tell them so. In the final analysis, this is an attempt to skate around, and thus erode, our state’s model preemption law. That cannot be allowed to stand. The City of Seattle is not an entity unto itself, but still part of Washington State, and therefore the city has to abide by the same laws we all follow.”

Public domain Seattle photo by Rattlhed.

Permalink News 4 Comments »
August 8th, 2015

Seattle Considers Sin Tax on Guns and Ammo

Seattle City Council sin Tax Gun ammo ban round five cents

Welcome to the wacky world of Municipal Anti-Gun Ordinances. San Francisco and Los Angeles have city-specific magazine bans and gun storage requirements, and now it appears that Seattle may target gun owners with new “sin taxes” on firearms and ammunition.

$25 Per Gun and Five Cents Per Round
The Seattle City Council will soon vote on a new local law that will add a $25.00 surcharge to every new gun purchase. In addition, the proposed Seattle City Ordinance will add a $0.05 (five cent) fee to each and every centerfire round sold in Seattle. Rimfire .22LR rounds will be taxed $0.02 per round.

The stated purpose for the new Gun and Ammo Tax is to raise money to combat crime, according to Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, author of the Gun Tax ordinance. Burgess told local KING-5 TV reporters that this is essentially a “Sin Tax” on guns and ammo: “We’ve been working on this for several years. Sure, I wish we would have done this 20 years ago, but we know what the problem is. We tax cigarettes and alcohol and even wood-burning stoves for public health purposes. Why not guns and ammunition?

While supporters of the Gun and Ammo Tax, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, claim the new city tax would raise over $300,000 to fight crime, in reality this measure is more about getting rid of guns that it is about making Seattle safe. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has opposed the Seattle Gun and Ammo Tax, stating: “[This ordinance] will have no effect on decreasing gun violence. It is designed to place a huge burden on legitimate firearms retailers and law-abiding gun owners. Additionally, the proposed ordinance is a gross violation of Washington’s firearms preemption statute.”

Seattle City Council sin Tax Gun ammo ban round five cents

Daniel Xu, writing in OutdoorHub.com notes that gun buyers already pay Excise Taxes with each purchase: “However, unlike the [Federal] Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax, which retains funds for conservation and habitat-protection efforts, the funds collected by the ordinance will go entirely back into the city for ‘gun violence research and prevention programs’. City leaders have yet to specify… how the funds will be spent.”

READ Related Story in OutdoorHub.com. Public domain Seattle photo by Rattlhed.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 19 Comments »
April 22nd, 2013

California Legislature Considers Tough New Gun-Control Laws

california gun control lawsA number of extreme gun control measures are currently being pushed through the California Legislature. In California’s State Senate, the Committee on Public Safety considered some of the most restrictive pieces of gun legislation yet proposed in California.

On April 17, the Public Safety Committee approved Senate Bill 293 that bans the sale of conventional handguns and implements owner-authorized “smart-gun” technology. This would block the sale of ANY handgun that was not “coded” to the gun owner (so that nobody else could shoot it). Of course, no such “smart” handguns are currently offered for sale by any major manufacturer.

As you’d expect, California is also moving forward on legislation to further restrict self-loading rifles. On April 16, the Senate Public Safety Committee, on a 5-2 party-line vote, approved Senate Bill 374. This bill expands the definition of “assault weapons” to ban the future sale of almost all semi-auto rifles that accept a detachable magazine. SB 374 now moves to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

The California Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee recently considered Assembly Bill 760 which would impose a new 5% sales tax on all ammunition components (complete cartridge, bullet, or case). That’s a nickel per bullet or cartridge. We’re pleased to report that AB760 has been held in committee pending further study of its financial effects. The bill is “suspended” for the time being, but it could be reconsidered in the near future. According to the L.A. Times, “The state Board of Equalization noted in a review that the proposed tax would be in addition to an existing sales tax on bullets, and it said the new tax could become a burden to businesses.”

In addition to taxing ammunition directly, California legislators have introduced bills that would make it much more difficult to purchase ammunition. SB 53 mandates a background check for ammo purchases. In addition, SB 53 would require gun owners to obtain a permit to purchase ammo. The permit, good for one-year only, would have to be renewed annually with a recurring $50/year cost. “It’s a way to red-tape the right to bear arms to death,” said Chuck Michel, attorney for the California Rifle and Pistol Association. “It’s all part of a campaign of shame, the fight to make it as difficult as possible for law-abiding citizens to make the choice to have a firearm for self-defense.”

State-wide ban on Lead-containing Ammunition
In addition, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife (WPW) approved AB 711, a bill that if passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown would extend the now limited condor range ban on traditional lead ammunition to the entire state. By its terms, AB 711 will “require the use of nonlead ammunition for the taking of all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm.” This bill passed the WPW Committee and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

Permalink News 4 Comments »