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.

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“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 »


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.

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“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 »


Gun Range Poison Scare Story Conveniently Appears 2 Weeks Before Election Featuring Billionaire-Funded Gun Control Initiative I-594

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“Drafted under the guise of preventing crime and funded almost solely by elitist billionaires with a proud background of stifling the Second Amendment, I-594 is an 18-page document that does nothing but impose heavy legal burdens on law-abiding gun owners and serious penalties for violations.  These anti-gun billionaires believe that they can buy your rights out from under you, and I-594 is their attempt at doing so.  I-594 will do nothing to make the people of Washington any safer, but will instead create bureaucratic hurdles that could turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals simply for exercising their constitutional rights….” (read more)

THE WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF POLICE & SHERIFFS OPPOSES INITIATIVE 594

The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs, the state’s oldest and largest law enforcement organization opposes Initiative 594. WACOPS represents more than 4500 active duty police and sheriffs deputies. Click here to read WACOPS position paper on Initiative 594 (read more)

 The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a one-minute digital video as part of it’s online campaign to defeat Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The video, titled  I-594 Will Not Make Washington Safer, features Seattle resident Anette Wachter, “The 30 Cal Gal” blogger and U.S. Long Range Rifle Team member.

In the video, Wachter explains, “I-594 wastes scarce law enforcement resources on something that will not make Washington safer.  And it will turn many law-abiding citizens into criminals for simply exercising their constitutional rights.”

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 Myths vs. Facts

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HOW MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS TWISTING THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE IN THE EVERGREEN STATE WASHING-CON

BY DAVE KOPEL

One way scam artists make money is by peddling mislabeled goods. The label on the can says “Wild Alaskan Salmon,” but what’s really inside is codfish from a filthy breeding pen in China, plus some food coloring.

Selling mislabeled goods is illegal, but there’s nothing illegal about mislabeled laws. Michael Bloomberg knows that difference, and he is exploiting it.

[Also see I-594 UNENFORCEABLE by Scott Brennan]

Right now in the state of Washington, Bloomberg is pushing a November ballot measure that is promoted as being about background checks for private sales. But it is really a law to criminalize most gun owners, including those who never sell guns. If passed, the deceptive Bloomberg ban for Washington state is then going to become the national model, to gradually be imposed on gun owners nationwide.

Bloomberg plans to run a similar ballot measure in Oregon in 2015 and in a dozen or more states in 2016. One of them is Nevada, where the 2016 campaign is already in progress. Bloomberg’s Nevada operation calls itself “Nevadans for Background Checks” and is operated by Melissa Warren, the managing partner at the Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations & Government Affairs lobbying firm.

Bloomberg and his minions claim they are just promoting background checks on private sales. But as usual, they are lying.

One way to tell that Bloomberg is selling a mislabeled law is to read the actual proposal. In this case, it is 18 pages long. It would only take a couple of pages to require background checks on private sales of firearms, if that were all the law did.

Instead, the law is a comprehensive scheme to criminalize the normal use of firearms, thus turning most gun owners into criminals, from whom firearms can be confiscated. Read the rest of this entry »


Conceal Carry: Eleanor Roosevelt, 1957

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Obama Finally Credited for Something Positive: Record U.S. Gun Production

girl-brick-armedFor BloombergSteven Komarow  writes:  U.S. gun makers led by Sturm Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) churned out a record number of firearms in 2012, government data show, continuing a trend of robust production during Democratic presidencies.

“Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry”

— Dave Workman

More than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011, according to data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been tracking the statistics since 1986.

Almost as many guns — 26.1 million — were produced during Democrat Barack Obama’s first term as president as during the entire eight-year presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the ATF data show.

[Order John R. Lott‘s highly-regarded book: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition” (Studies in Law and Economics) from Amazon]

Advocates on both sides of the gun-control debate said manufacturers were meeting demand fueled by concerns among gun owners that Democratic presidents are more willing to limit firearms sales than Republicans. After years of steering clear of the issue, Obama pressed unsuccessfully last year for stricter gun measures in the wake of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The production boom has resulted in strong sales and profits for gun companies, including Sturm & Ruger and Smith & Wesson.

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Useful Gun Owner Links: 

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Mother Jones Promotes Violence: Stealth Assault on Rights of Gun Owners

Photo: Greg Henry/Shutterstock; Crosshair: Ivsanmas/Shutterstock

Photo: Greg Henry/Shutterstock; Crosshair: Ivsanmas/Shutterstock

‘s breathlessly-alarmist article begins:

“This past spring, strangely similar pieces of mail started arriving at the offices of city attorneys in 28 Maryland communities. The tersely worded letters, many dated March 26, warned each town that some of its firearms laws were illegal and needed to be repealed immediately. Takoma Park‘s letter claimed that ordinances against carrying unlocked guns and possessing or selling guns in public places “grossly” exceeded state law and should be taken off the books, “out of respect for the rule of law.” All of the letters warned that failure to comply would put the towns “at risk for a lawsuit.”

This reflects the wishes of the community, as well as the concerns of gun-rights advocacy groups. What do the actual residents of Newton prefer? In Newtown, Gun Permits Surge After Shooting. Residents Cite Desire for Protection, a Rush to Buy Before Tighter Rules Kicked In.  And not just in Newton. Thanks in part to these ‘activist gun groups”, more citizens in the U.S. have taken gun-saftey classes–and primarily, more women–than ever before.

If “strangely similar pieces of mail” warn Newton city attorneys against violating laws, that suggests that the activist opposition to activist gun-grabbers is well organized. Perhaps Mother Jones would prefer that Newton violate those laws, and that Newton residents should be even more restricted from protecting themselves.

“Once in a blue moon we get these kinds of letters from activist organizations,” says Ryan Spiegel, vice president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Municipal League and a member of the Gaithersburg city council. What felt different this time, he says, was the coordination—and the timing: Just a month earlier, the Maryland Senate had passed some of the country’s toughest gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Yes, the timing is relevant. The Maryland Senate‘s bowing to pressure from anti-gun groups, and exploiting Newton’s tragedy, does not sit well with many of the residents of Newton, who have to live with decisions made in haste by misguided or cowardly lawmakers.

Note: the “toughest” gun-control measures are firmly in place in the American cities that suffer from highest rates of crime, murder, and violence. While regions with less-restrictive gun laws, and higher numbers of legally-armed citizens, benefit from lower crime, murder, and violence in their communities. Even the U.N. confirms it. This is not only true in the U.S., it’s true worldwide

Read the rest of this entry »


CHILL: NYPD Sending Out Gun Confiscation Letters to Law Abiding Citizens

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Law abiding citizens with legally registered guns are receiving letters from the NYPD ordering them to surrender their firearm.

Who is not receiving the letters? Gangbangers with illegal guns.

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topconservativenews.com 


[VIDEO] Second Amendment Foundation Launches New Effort to Defend Equality

Equal Gun Rights

Read the press release: SAF Launches new effort to defend equality of gun ownership

Visit EqualGunRights.com for more information.

Second Amendment Foundation Online


Victory: Reversal of Seattle Mayor’s Improper Anti-Gun Policy Restores Library Safety

Second Amendment Foundation Applauds Seattle Library Gun Policy

Emily-Gets-Her-Gun-But-Obama-Wants-to-Take-YoursBELLEVUE, WA –(Ammoland.com)- The Second Amendment Foundation today applauded the overdue policy change at Seattle’s public libraries regarding the legal carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens in library facilities.

In recognition of this policy change, reported by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, SAF is donating an autographed copy of Washington Times Senior Opinion Editor Emily Miller’s new book, Emily Gets Her Gun But Obama Wants to Take Yours, to the library. The book details Miller’s efforts to legally purchase a handgun for personal protection in the District of Columbia, which has one of the most cumbersome handgun laws in the country.

“If there is any place in the country where that book should be available to urban readers, it might be the Jet City,”said SAF’s Dave Workman, senior editor for TheGunMag.com, a print and on-line publication owned by the Bellevue-based national organization. He also writes a column on firearms issues for Examiner.com.

“We’re delighted that the Seattle public library appears to be finally recognizing that it must comply with the right to carry,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We hope that the library makes good use of Emily’s eye-opening book, and makes it available to library patrons so they can learn just what happens when bureaucracies create regulatory nightmare schemes to discourage people from exercising their constitutionally-protected civil rights.”

Read the rest of this entry »