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Smoke and Mirrors: Seattle Sales Tax

This week, the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), firearms retailers, and private gun owners filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, alleging that its new firearms and ammunition sales tax ordinance is illegal and unenforceable.

campus-censorship

“Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for ‘injuries due to accidents’ had a rate almost seventy-five times greater.  With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents.”

Earlier this month, Seattle passed the Firearm Tax and Ammunition Tax ordinance which imposes a new $25 sales tax on the retail sales of firearms, plus a per-round sales tax of two to five cents on ammunition.  The ordinance is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2016. A failure to pay the tax is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to 364 days, or both.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

A city report describes this as a “gun violence tax” that is estimated to generate revenues of $300,000 to $500,000 per year. The report adds, “[e]very effort funded by the revenues of this tax that reduces the probability of gun violence from taking place will save lives and money… Efforts funded by the gun violence tax that mitigate the public health, welfare, and safety impacts of gun violence will benefit this population.”

“In 2011, the Court of Appeals of Washington looked no further than the ‘plain language’ of the preemption statute before concluding that Seattle’s attempt to regulate the possession of firearms was unlawful. The complaint in the new lawsuit refers to this decision and states the City of Seattle is ‘not permitted to pass laws that target the sale of firearms and ammunition through any means.’”

The report fails to disclose any clear relationship between expected new tax receipts and a reduction in violence of any kind. The report asserts only that efforts funded by the tax which “reduce[] the probability of gun violence from taking place” will benefit Seattle residents, without identifying the nature of the “research, prevention and youth education and employment programs” or how these programs will work to reduce the “probability” of gun violence. (The report does confirm, though, that the City will be able “to track how much revenue is raised each year and analyze the programs to which that revenue is dedicated.”)

A group of local public school teachers from nearby schools use rubber training guns as they practice proper firearms handling during a teachers-only firearms training class offered for free at the Veritas Training Academy in Sarasota, Florida January 11, 2013. The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS EDUCATION)

“Citizens testifying before the City Council meeting on the new tax included a recent victim of a violent felony who was ‘appalled’ that the City was enacting an illegal tax that would force law-abiding citizens to pay for the impact of gun violence committed by criminals.”

The ordinance itself cites a 2014 study funded by the City of Seattle which reported, among other things, King County hospitalization rates due to a firearm-related injury (“of any intent,” presumably including self-inflicted and accidental injuries in addition to persons who were injured as victims of crime), and hospitalizations for other reasons.

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

Hospitalizations due to overdoses, non-gun suicides, and non-gun assaults were far more prevalent than gun-related hospitalizations. Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for “injuries due to accidents” had a rate almost seventy-five times greater.  With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents. Read the rest of this entry »

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Legally Unenforceable: Seattle’s Self-Inflicted ‘Gun Violence Tax’ Draws NRA Lawsuit

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Seattle’s tax, which would take effect in January, would add $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city.

SEATTLE (AP) — Gene Johnson reports: Three gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, sued the city of Seattle on Monday over its adoption of a so-called “gun violence tax,” a tax on firearms and ammunition designed to help offset
the financial toll of gun violence.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

The complaint was filed Monday in King County Superior Court by the NRA, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, along with two gun owners and two gun shops. It called the tax legally unenforceable because Washington state prohibits local governments from adopting laws related to firearms unless those local ordinances are specifically authorized by the state.

“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable. The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”

“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable,” the lawsuit said. “The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the tax this month, along with a companion measure requiring gun owners to file reports if their weapons are stolen or lost. The lawsuit does not challenge the reporting requirements. City Attorney Pete Holmes has argued that the gun-violence tax falls squarely under Seattle’s taxing authority. Read the rest of this entry »


Backwards in Seattle: City Council Imposes New Gun and Ammunition Tax, Exposing City to Lawsuits: ‘The only real purpose of this legislation is to run gun stores out of the city. I know it, you know it, the courts will know it”

MINIMUM WAGE VOTE -- SEATTLE CITY HALL -- RALLY -- 06022014 --  139162 Seattle City Council members  Tim Burgess speaks at a council meeting Monday afternoon.  At the meeting, the council unanimously passed the $15/hour minimum wage proposal . MethodeID: 3.0.2639093170#News#Local#20140603#3.0.2639093170

The Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs drive gun stores out of business.

The Second Amendment Foundation says the city’s new law goes against the state’s preemption law which prevents any city or municipality from implementing stricter gun laws than the state.

SEATTLE –  reports: Seattle city council members unanimously passed a new gun and
0ammunition tax Monday afternoon.

“About a third of homes in Seattle have guns in them and our goal is that every one of those guns are safety stored.”

— Margaret Heldring with GAGV

That means more than 20 licensed gun dealers operating within city limits are facing hefty taxes starting January.

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“Switzerland has a fully automatic weapon in every household yet violent crime rates are very low. The real problem in violent crime is economic disparity.”

— Gun shop owner Sergey Solyanik

City leaders say they hope to raise $300,000 to $500,000 a year through the new gun tax. But gun shop owners are now threatening to sue the city.

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“Gandmothers Against Gun Violence marched to the steps of city hall on Monday in support of taxing guns and ammunition. They believe a $25 tax on each gun sold and up to a 5 cent tax on a round of ammunition will ‘help deter gun violence’.”

“Guns are out of control in this country,” Terri Hollinsworth with Grandmothers Against Gun Violence said.

The group says gun violence is an epidemic.

“Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs.”

— Council member Tim Burgess

“About a third of homes in Seattle have guns in them and our goal is that every one of those guns are safety stored,” Margaret Heldring with GAGV said.

buying-selling-guns-AP

“No way the city will be making any money on this bill in fact they will be losing money.”

— Sergey Solyanik

Gandmothers Against Gun Violence marched to the steps of city hall on Monday in support of taxing guns and ammunition. They believe a $25 tax on each gun sold and up to a 5 cent tax on a round of ammunition will help deter gun violence.

“Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs,” Council member Tim Burgess said.

But opponents of the measure took center stage in front of council members calling the measure unfair and ineffective.

“I am appalled that you are enacting an illegal tax that forces law abiding citizens to pay for the impact of violence committed by criminals,” one opponent said. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle’s Socialist Clown Councilmember: Kshama Sawant, 2 Activists Tried For Disorderly Conduct

Sawant

 CBS Seattle


Discrimination: Group of Seattle Franchise Businesses Sue to Stop $15 Minimum Wage 

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, right, announces his proposed increase of the city’s minimum wage. Steve Ringman / AP

For the Los Angeles TimesMaria L. La Ganga reports: Five Puget Sound business owners and a trade group based in Washington, D.C., filed suit in federal court Wednesday to stop Seattle from enacting a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which would be the highest in the nation when it takes effect.

“The city’s minimum wage statute arbitrarily and illegally discriminates against franchisees and significantly increases their labor costs in ways that will harm their businesses, employees, consumers and Seattle’s economy.”

The suit, filed by the International Franchise Assn. and five local franchisees, argues that the new minimum wage discriminates against the owners of franchised businesses because it treats them like national corporations instead of the small businesses that they really are.

[Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage]

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

Calling a thing what it is: 1930s-era Socialist wage and price controls in a 21st-century economy. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

[See also Seattle-Area Businesses Charge Customers Extra To Meet Minimum Wage Hike]

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council on June 2 and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray a day later, violates the U.S. and Washington state  Constitutions, the suit says, along with federal statutes and state law, and could put some small franchisees out of business. Read the rest of this entry »


Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty

For Reason.com writes: Our labor participation rate is terrible and our economy shrank by 1 percent in the first quarter of the year. So it’s the perfect time to raise the minimum wage to a degree unseen in America before, right?

That’s what Seattle has done. Yesterday the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 over the next seven years. Labor activists are actually considering forcing a public vote to speed up the process so that it hits the new minimum in three years. The city recently elected its first Socialist council member, Kshama Sawant, so perhaps the move shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The City Council dulled the edge of the new minimum a bit by allowing for a lower training wage for teenagers and disabled workers. This prompted outrage from Sawant and labor supporters, who I guess want to drive teens and the disabled out of the job market entirely.

[Also see: Capitalist-Flesh-Eating Zombie Socialists Hail New Zombie Leader in Seattle]

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

[More: Unexpected’: Are Seattle businesses adding a surcharge to pay for the new minimum wage?]

Franchise owners are planning a lawsuit because the law counts them as big businesses and only gives them three years to phase in the increase. From The Seattle Times:

Local franchisee David Jones, who owns two Subway stores in Seattle, puts his cost of a $15 minimum at $125,000 annually. He pays the stores’ 18 employees $10.50 an hour, on average; he figures he’ll have to raise sandwich prices by a dollar or more to maintain profits… Read the rest of this entry »


Heather Mac Donald: The Supreme Court’s Schuette Decision Exposes the Absurdity of Racial-Preferences Jurisprudence

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Photo by Pete Souza

For City Journal, Heather Mac Donald writes: In a victory for common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late April that voters could require colorblind admissions to their state’s public universities without running afoul of the Constitution. Several of the justices arrived at this seemingly self-evident conclusion via tortured routes, however, and Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg rejected it. Their opinions reveal the counterfactual condition of race jurisprudence today, while also unwittingly providing a rationale for knocking down academic racial preferences entirely. Sotomayor’s long, impassioned dissent opens a disturbing window into her racialized worldview and offers an example of what might be called the black-studies-ification of elite discourse.

[See Heather Mac Donald’s book: The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society at Amazon.com]

The roots of the recent decision, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights . . . By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), were planted in 2003, when the Court upheld the use of racial admissions preferences by the University of Michigan’s law school. Preference opponents responded with a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution, prohibiting Michigan’s government from discriminating against, or according preferential treatment to, any individual or group based on race, gender, or national origin. The campaign over the initiative, Proposal 2, was highly visible and hard-fought, focusing primarily on the measure’s effect on admissions to the state’s public universities. Proponents of preferences, led by BAMN, argued that Proposal 2 would drastically reduce minority enrollment at the University of Michigan and that it was a thinly veiled excuse for racism. Voters rejected those arguments and passed the initiative with 58 percent of the vote in 2006. BAMN then sued to overturn Proposal 2 as unconstitutional. The group lost in federal district court but won in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Proposal 2’s backers appealed to the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Elects Socialist To City Council

CBS Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history.

Kshama Sawant’s lead continued to grow on Friday, prompting 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin to concede.

Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win has surprised many here. Conlin was backed by the city’s political establishment. On election night, she trailed by four percentage points. She wasn’t a veteran politician, having only run in one previous campaign.

But in the days following election night, Sawant’s share of the votes outgrew Conlin’s.

“I don’t think socialism makes most people in Seattle afraid,” Conlin said Friday.

While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist — a label that would be political poisonous in many parts of the country.

Sawant, a 41-year-old college economics professor, first drew attention as part of local Occupy Wall Street protests…

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