One of the candidates running to fill the Seattle City Council seat being vacated by Tim Burgess, who pushed through the city’s “gun violence tax,” is proposing to double that tax to raise revenue not realized during the first year it was assessed, a move predicted by Washington state’s leading gun rights advocate.
Council candidate Jon Grant’s proposal appears on his campaign website. Here’s what he says:
“Seattle won a significant victory in the courts against our national gun violence epidemic, once again leading the nation where the federal government will not. In an 8-1 decision our State Supreme Court upheld our city’s gun violence tax which funds critical public health research. However, in the year since it was implemented it has become clear the law does not go far enough. The revenue created hit less than half its projected goal and therefore the tax on guns and ammunition must be doubled to fulfill our promise to adequately fund critical research on gun violence.
“The city estimated that approximately $500,000 could be raised from the new tax, but in 2016 it yielded less than $200,000 in its first year of implementation. The city already spent in previous years $275,000 from the General Fund to start up research projects at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Now the city is in the red in its research spending and we must require the gun industry to shoulder the costs some of those costs. For example, in 2014 the direct costs of treating gunshot wounds amounted to over 17 million dollars, and over 70% of these costs were covered by taxpayers.
“Now that Seattle has established a legal framework it is an imperative on the city to build off this success. Doubling the gun tax to $50 per gun sale, and .10 cents per ammunition round can get us to our goal of raising a half million dollars so Harborview Medical can expand its gun violence prevention research. We can not (sic) kowtow to the National Rifle Association’s threats in the same way Congress has since 1996 to ban research funding on gun violence. We have arrived at a crisis level now too many times like at Sandy Hook, Orlando, and Cafe Racer.”
But what crisis is that? Last month, the Detroit News reported that there were 302 homicides in that city of 672,795 residents last year. As of July 3 this year, there were 133 slayings in Detroit.
UPDATE: According to KUOW, Grant’s rival, Teresa Mosqueda, also would consider hiking the gun tax. KUOW is reporting this: “Mosqueda says she’s happy to look at doubling the tax, in large part because the federal government, for years, has declined to fund research on gun violence. She says she would work with city and state officials to get at the root cause of gun violence.”
In Seattle last year – a city of more than 700,000 residents – there were 21 homicides and two fatal officer involved shootings, according to a Feb. 4 story in the Seattle Times. In 2015, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for that year, the most recent data available, the entire state of Washington reported 209 homicides. Of those, 141 were committed with firearms. The FBI’s report for 2016 will be released next month.
Also in 2015, according to FBI data, Oregon experienced 71 murders of which 34 involved firearms. That same year, Washington logged 209 homicides, which included 141 that involved guns. The combined number of slayings for that entire year in both states is lower than the body count in Chicago so far this year, and there are still four months of mayhem to go.
Recently, Gottlieb co-authored an Op-Ed that appeared in the Elko, Nevada newspaper. Here’s what he wrote:
“Seattle started with $25 per gun, but what if they want to raise that to $100, $500 or even $1,000? It opens the door wide to making gun ownership prohibitively expensive for average citizens.
“Essentially, Washington’s Supreme Court just handed the gun prohibition lobby and its allies in government a new strategy: If they can’t ban or regulate gun ownership out of existence, they will simply tax it into oblivion.
“The ruling creates a new battleground for groups like the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“Count on this: Municipal city and county governments controlled by anti-gun liberal politicians will be eyeballing such taxes in their own communities. They may say the revenue will be used for “gun violence research or prevention” programs, but in reality this is to finance gun control, and they know it. Such taxes penalize honest gun owners and use their money to conduct questionable ‘research’ with the ultimate goal of using the findings of such research to support additional restrictions on their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
Mike Coombs, owner of the Outdoor Emporium in Seattle, one of the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit challenging the gun violence tax, told Liberty Park Press that ‘I can’t just sit back and keep taking it.”
If he decides to move out of Seattle, he takes along the largest portion of the gun violence tax, approximately 83 percent. He said if the gun and ammunition tax were to double, it would make it impossible to compete with stores outside the city, and it would become prohibitively expensive for people to buy firearms inside the city.
It would, he said, drive gun sales out of the city. That’s exactly what he believes this tax was designed to do, anyway, which makes it a gun control issue, a notion that the state Supreme Court danced around in its ruling earlier this month.
Grant is only a candidate at this point, and his suggestion has no force of law. But in a city where government is dominated by far left anti-gun liberals, such a suggestion could gain traction thanks to the state high court ruling.