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Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue; because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.

In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.

On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington law. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case – Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue – the Court warned that “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”

Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.

and,

Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.

Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.

In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.

According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.

Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »

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[PHOTOS] ‘Bond, James Bond’: SilencerCo ‘Spectre’ Walther Summit Package

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SilencerCo® collaborated with Walther® in order to pair a Walther PPK/S and Spectre 22 for a Summit line package in anticipation of the new James Bond™ movie, titled Spectre. Packages will be available with an either black or stainless Walther PPK/S and Spectre 22 pairing, shipped together in a Q-worthy locking case.

There will be 25 Stainless packages and 25 Black Packages available.

FEATURES

  • Walther PPK/S – Black or Stainless
  • SilencerCo Spectre 22 – Black or Stainless
  • Black Metal Locking Case
  • Two Magazines

SPECS

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Barrel Length: 3.3″
  • Capacity: 10 rounds

Source: SilencerCo


September Sees Record Gun Sales

gun-range

 reports: The Federal Bureau of Investigation processed a record number of background checks in the month of September, indicating that gun sales were at an all time high for the month.

“If they really want less guns in private hands they should consider what happens every time they open their mouths.”

The FBI’s National Instant Background Check System processed 1,795,102 applications to buy a firearm in September. That represents a new record: 335,739 more checks than the previous September high set in 2012, or a 23 percent increase.

Utah-Gun-Show-AP

“We are seeing new record highs in gun sales due to the increased anti-gun rhetoric from Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton. Their push for new restrictions on gun ownership is fueling gun sales.”

— Alan Gottlieb, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation

The number of checks done in a particular month is considered a reliable gauge of how many gun sales have occurred since background checks are required on all sales made through licensed firearms dealers. The actual number of sales is likely higher since multiple firearms can be sold to the same person by a dealer under a single background check. The numbers also do not account for sales between private parties that do not require a background check. Read the rest of this entry »


The Imaginary ‘Gun Show Loophole’: Why Hillary Clinton’s Proposal Is A Joke

Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:

What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.

Photo by: Brennan Linsley

And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.

[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]

Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.

[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]

Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.

hillary-orange

For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:

Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));

[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]

Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:

(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
firearms manufactured;
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
and
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.

hillary-gunz-trippy

Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »


The Evolution of the Foot Soldier

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via spookyfreedomwagon – washingtonstateconservatarian

 


Gear: 21st Century Accessories

guns&cigars


Oops! Barack Obama Has Likely Given a $9 Billion Boost to the Gun Industry (At Least)

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Philip Bump reports: On Monday afternoon, while the attention of the political media world was focused on events at the United Nations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that it was dropping plans to reclassify a particular form of ammunition. It was a rare success for a letter-signed-by-most-Republican-senatorsthis week, after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got most of his colleagues to sign on to a missive that captured an already-bubbling sentiment among conservatives. (That opponents of gun control measures won a victory, of course, is anything but a rare success.)

If you want the full back story, it’s here. But what we want to focus on is the phenomenon that has frequently resulted when the administration has either threatened new gun control measures or when the public has been worried that it might, as it did in the wake of the ATF’s recent announcement: Firearm sales skyrocket.

ammo-graph

As soon as Barack Obama won the 2008 election, gun sales spiked. The number of background checks (a point of data linked to gun sales numbers) increased by 50 percent over the rest of that year in November and December. (December figures are often higher, we’ll note, due to the popularity of giving weapons as Christmas presents.) The Aiken Standard in Aiken, S.C., wrote about spiking sales that December, quoting an employee at a local gun store: “There’s been a definite increase. It’s because a Democrat is in office, in my opinion.” Not quite in office, but you get the point.

To measure how big the Obama Gun Boom has been, we turned to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It uses data on excise taxes collected by the government on weapon and ammunition sales to estimate the total market for those products. It provided its estimates from 1982 through the third quarter of last year to the Post.

Overall, the estimates look like this. We’ve shaded in the Obama Era as encompassing 2008 through 2014, due to the spike at the end of 2008. (That plays into our projections later, so bear that in mind.) Notice the spike in 1993, as well, the last time a Democrat assumed the presidency. And, of course, backed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which is precisely the sort of thing gun advocates fear. Read the rest of this entry »


Does the Second Amendment Protect Firearms Commerce?

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Defending the right to sell and trade arms

 writes:  The First Amendment protects both book buyers and booksellers.  Does the Second Amendment protect only people who buy guns, or does it also protect people who sell guns?  Though this question has divided the federal courts, the answer is quite clear: operating a business that provides Second Amendment services is protected by the Second Amendment.  District of Columbia v. Heller1 teaches that regulation of how firearms are commercially sold enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, which does not extend to prohibitions of firearms sales.

[Related: Find John Lott’s essential book: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

In the lower federal courts, there is a developing split about whether firearms sellers have Second Amendment rights which the courts are bound to respect.  Seventh Circuit courts view firearms sellers like booksellers — as holders of constitutional rights.  While gun sellers are subject to much stricter regulation than are booksellers, they are both protected by the Bill of Rights.  Conversely, in the courts of the Fourth Circuit, gun sellers have no Second Amendment rights.

bitchesandbullets.tumblr.com

bitchesandbullets.tumblr.com

Brown v. Board of Education was not exactly a popular decision among some state and local governments, and among some lower court judges.  The same is true of Heller.  One form of resistance to Heller has been to read the opinion in the narrowest possible way, excluding from Second Amendment protection many normal activities involving firearms.  One such form of resistance is the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to gun sales.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Shrimp Boy’ Tactical 9mm Ammo

Statesman_Final

I can’t tell if this is an April Fool’s announcement, or real, but I got this in the mail this morning, and had to share it:

Lucky Gunner is proud to announce that we now have in stock a special batch of 9mm Statesman Ammunition™. Originally made as a special production run for a California state official, the ammo will not reach its intended customer due to pending legal proceedings and is now being offered for sale to the public at a deep discount!

Featuring the Triad-Tech™ bullet from Shrimp Boy Tactical for enhanced accuracy, each round is meticulously made to ensure reliable ignition and all rounds are incredibly corrosive. Don’t get caught feeling stung, elect to buy some Statesman 9mm ammo today!

Shrimp Boy Tactical Statesman 9mm Ammo


Homeland Security Still Feeling Insecure

110214ammo

Solution: Purchasing an Additional 141,160 rounds of Hornady Sniper Ammo Helps Ease Insecure Feelings, Inspires Trust, and Promotes Domestic Tranquility

Note: it’s not just DHS that’s stockpiling and doing massive ammo purchases. The U.S. Department of Education (what?) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are stockpiling ammo. Question: Why does N.O.A.A., and the Department of Education need to stockpile tons of hollow point bullets?

The Department of Homeland Security is buying more bullets with a solicitation for over 141,00 rounds of sniper ammunition.  According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the federal agency is looking to procure 141,160 rounds of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP ammunition. Such ammunition is sometimes retailed as “Zombie Max,” a marketing gimmick alluding to its power. “What makes the .308 ammunition so deadly is the long range capability of the round,” notes James Smith. “The ability is called ballistic coefficient, or the efficiency of a projectile in overcoming air resistance as it travels to its target.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘The Last Round You’ll Ever Need’

G2-RIP-round

New copper bullet EXPLODES on impact

Anything with a name like “Radically Invasive Projectile” will undoubtedly interest loyal punditfromanotherplanet readers. Including firearms enthusiasts, pyrotechnics hobbyists, law enforcement officials, reformed home-invasion hobbyists, concerned part-time burglars, probation officers, ballistics video aficionados, women sharpshooters, men sharpshooters, gun-haters, gun-lovers, anxious Mother Jones readers, NRA members, Huffington Post crybabies, gun grabbers, gun store clerks, retired military personal, security guards, teachers, and elected officials. And, well, folks who enjoy watching stuff blow up. In concrete. Or gelatin. In slow motion.

[Deals on Shooting Supplies and Fireproof safes at Amazon]

The Daily Caller‘s Giuseppe Macri reports:

G2 Research’s Radically Invasive Projectile (R.I.P.) copper-tipped bullet makes a stunning explosive mess in the company’s new promotional video, and it’s hard to image the effect on people being much prettier.

Read the rest of this entry »


Lucky Gunner Ammo Sales: What people bought in 2013

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Anthony Welsch, of LuckyGunner.com, writes:  2013 proved to be a remarkable, eventful, and sometimes frustrating time for ammo hunters all over the country. At Lucky Gunner, we can understand those emotions as the year proved to be a wild ride! Now, we’d like to give you a peek behind the curtain at Lucky Gunner and a look at some insider ammo stats and information.

You probably know Lucky Gunner Labs as a source of in-depth testing and insight into the ammo world. So, similarly to what we did at the end of 2012, we thought we’d give you a inside look at our biggest on-going experiment: delivering the most amazing experience possible to shooters who purchase ammunition online at LuckyGunner.com.

By now, you probably can tell how much we love data and feedback from shooters. It helps us make the best decisions about how to get shooters what they want, expect and need. With that in the back of our minds, we thought you might like a quick journey into the data and trends we noticed among shooters in 2013.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] High-tech Bullet Enlarges in Mid-Air

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  writes:  Advanced Ballistics Concepts has invented a new high-tech bullet engineered to greatly increase accuracy, which is set to debut at the Las Vegas SHOT show next week.

The Mi-Bullet, or multiple impact bullet, expands into four interconnected parts as it exits the barrel, improving accuracy thanks to an accelerated barrel speed and the increased diameter of the shot.

WATCH: Digital simulation of Mi-Bullet firing

According to Concepts’ officials, the bullet is designed to increase first and second shot accuracy for shooters in “high pressure situations,” and the company has designed ammunition compatible with the most popular weapons on the market.

Read the rest of this entry »


End of the line for the lead bullet? Regulations, bans force switch to ‘green’ ammo

army M855A1 new ammo

Perry Chiaramonte writes:  When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark  a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn ‘green’ bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.

The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago. But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet’s epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.

First, the military announced plans to phase out lead bullets by 2018.

“Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition.”

National Rifle Association

Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency, citing emissions, ordered the shutdown of the Doe Run company‘s lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by year’s end.

Whether by state or federal regulation, or by market forces, lead bullets will be all but phased out within a few years in favor of so-called green bullets, experts say. While many believe that this will help the environment by keeping lead from contaminating groundwater, others say switching to copper-based bullets will cost hunters and sportsmen more and have little effect on the environment.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CHILL: Watch the Pro-Gun, Daniel Defense Ad the NFL Won’t Run During the Super Bowl

According to Guns & Ammo magazine, the ad above, for gun-seller Daniel Defense, was submitted to the NFL for consideration to run during the Super Bowl. It was shot down:

The NFL’s Advertising Policy addresses several Prohibited Advertising Categories, including guidelines for ads featuring alcohol, video games, movies, prescription drugs, and, of course, firearms.

The firearms portion of the NFL’s Prohibited Advertising Categories states:

“5. Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”

According to these guidelines, Daniel Defense’s Super Bowl commercial does not violate NFL policy for two reasons:

  • Daniel Defense has a brick-and-mortar store, where they sell products other than firearms such as apparel.
  • The commercial itself does not mention firearms, ammunition or weaponry.

While Daniel Defense’s commercial does not mention firearms, it does include a logo of their DDM4 rifle at the very end.

When the NFL denied the ad, Daniel Defense immediately offered to replace the DDM4 logo with an American flag and/or the words “Shall not be infringed.”

The NFL replied with another non-negotiable denial.

Read the whole story.

Read the rest of this entry »


Government Long on Hollow Point Bullets, Short on Answers

bullets

Dan Reihl writes:  Government responses to two recent stories involving the purchasing of hollow point bullets by government agencies are raising more questions than they’ve answered.

“NOAA officers and agents enforce the nation’s ocean and fishing laws to ensure a level playing field for fishermen and to protect marine species like whales, dolphins and turtles,” Bales-Sherrod said.

Hollow-point bullets, which are designed to expand when they strike their target, are standard issue for many law enforcement agencies, including the 63 NOAA law enforcement personnel that will use the rounds for their firearms qualifications and training, according to Bales-Sherrod.

Read the rest of this entry »


Concealed Carry: What About +P Ammo?

Plus-P-Ammo-e1383858871357Gun Digest‘s Grant Cunningham writes:  The idea behind the +P is to add enough energy to reliably deliver an expanded bullet deep enough to do its job. It doesn’t have to be a lot of extra energy – it just has to be enough. Here’s what you need to know.

What About +P Ammo?

Remember that hollowpoints use part of their energy to expand their diameter, but the energy that’s used to expand the bullet is energy that can’t be used to drive the same bullet forward. There is no such thing as a free lunch; if you want the bullet to expand, it’s going to use energy. If there is too little of it to start with, there won’t be enough left to carry the bullet on its path.

Read the rest of this entry »


House votes to delay bulk ammunition purchase by DHS

By Pete Kasperowicz 

The House late Wednesday voted to stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from entering into new contracts to buy millions of rounds of ammunition until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports to Congress on the need for the ammo, and its cost.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to the DHS spending bill for 2014 that would require the report to Congress before it can pursue plans to buy 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition. Meadows said the speed bump is a necessary reaction to news of the huge purchase, which alarmed many Americans and prompted conservative groups to suspect that the government was stocking up on the rounds to fight citizens.

“Given this large purchase, the American people and members of Congress rightfully had concerns and questions,” Meadows said. “This is a responsible amendment which ensures that Congress and the American people are aware of the necessity and the cost of ammunition prior to entering into new contracts for procurement.”

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said the amendment was unnecessary based on his talks with DHS officials. Carter said the department has since admitted that its ammunition needs are not as great as first reported, and said the department is pursuing a bulk purchase to keep the costs down…

More via The Hills Floor Action