This week the Seattle City Council moved one step closer to imposing a sweeping sales tax on both weapons and ammunition which appears to fly in the face of a thirty year old state law banning such restrictions. A committee vote took place on Wednesday and the proposal will move to a full vote tomorrow. And this is just a bad deal all the way around.
The committee voted unanimously this morning to send the proposal to the full city council for consideration next Monday, according to the Seattle P-I.com. Monday’s vote could set the stage for a legal confrontation, and there were hints that existing gun shops could move out of the city, and that gun owners living in Seattle will simply shop outside the city, thus thwarting any dreams that this tax will generate $300,000 to $500,000 annually for the city’s gun control efforts.
Waiting in the legal tall grass are the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. They’ve already advised against the tax proposal, primarily on the grounds that it will violate the state’s 30-year-old model preemption law.
Even if this move were to pass muster in terms of the state’s preemption law, it is bound to accomplish very little beyond the thinly veiled intent of punishing lawful gun owners and gun shops. A tax such as this is certain to do almost nothing to total volume of sales except for those truly living on the edge and simply shifts business from one location to another. NRA ILA summarizes the concept.
The burden of regressive taxes like the Seattle proposal falls squarely on those that are least able to afford them. Persons of means will simply drive outside the city to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those without such options will be forced to go forego their rights or pay the tax. This is especially egregious considering how those at the lower end of the economic scale also tend to reside in areas where violent crime is the highest. One wonders whether this type of social engineering on the downtrodden is an intended feature of the legislation rather than an unfortunate consequence.