State High Court Ruling On Gun Tax Shows ‘Elections Matter,’ Says SAF

Activist Judges Need Not Apply
State High Court Ruling On Gun Tax Shows ‘Elections Matter,’ Says SAF
Second Amendment Foundation
Second Amendment Foundation

BELLEVUE, WA –  The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling that upholds Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” shows that elections – especially those for state Supreme Court justices – matters now more than ever, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

“The high court’s decision to uphold what clearly appears to us as a violation of Washington’s 34-year- old State Preemption Act is proof positive that the court places political correctness above the rule of law,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Gun owners must get more involved in Supreme Court races.”

SAF, along with the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, was a plaintiff in the case, known as Watson v. City of Seattle. These organizations, along with two local firearms retailers, challenged the legality of the “gun violence tax” under the preemption law.

“This isn’t just a loss for the rule of law, firearms dealers and gun owners living in Seattle,” Gottlieb said. “It’s a slap in the face to the Washington Legislature. In 1983, state lawmakers adopted the state’s preemption act, which squarely put all firearms regulation under authority of the Legislature. It is clear from this ruling that the Legislature will have to strengthen the preemption act to not only nullify what amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax on gun owners, but to also make sure this is not allowed to happen again.”

Under the 1983 law, “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. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law… and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. 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with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms.

Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

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M Reyna

Liberals have one thing in common when it comes to guns. They don’t want anyone to have guns except themselves, family and donors or their bodyguards.
Like Ex-Mayor Bloomberg and his Bodyguards. But not you.

Jim in Conroe

This is not the only case, where exceptions to a State preemption law have been sanctioned by a court. Although the State of Colorado has a preemption statute and does not ban AR platform firearms, don’t get caught with one in the Denver city limits. I make a wide detour around Denver, whenever I travel to hunt in Colorado.


Any progress on the FOIS request for actual tax revenues collected on this new tax, and comparing with past years’ B&O and Sales Taxes to demonstrate whether the new tax did what it promised to do, increase revenue?

Jim in Conroe

The last I read, a court has ordered the release of the information. Estimates put the tax collected at less than $100,000, on the basis that the largest (by far) gun store in the area paid $80,000. The projection, when the tax was put in place, was collections would be in the vicinity of $300,000 to $500,000 dollars.


It would be a good piece of information to have a list of the Supreme COurt members and how they voted on this. Future fodder for future elections. Our Supreme COurt has been seriously watered down these past few elections. Who even bothers to read anything about the guys standing for that office?


So the attack on the 2nd Amendment continues without losing a beat. Even with pre-emptive laws in place, even with a Republican majority in congress, even with a pro-gun President, even with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. If this continues, it won’t be long before gun ownership is reduced to that which is the same as experienced in the majority of European countries. The end of the right to keep and bear arms.

Wild Bill

@ras, It is an odd group of people that use “law” to take away our Second Amendment Civil Right, in spite of higher “law” that precludes these attempts. How can they negate a human Right enshrined in our Constitution, with local law. Who are these petty tyrants? Courts are doing the same thing. Lower courts ignoring the precedent of higher courts, for the purpose of getting their way for years until the higher court catches up with them. And federal trial courts issuing orders to the Executive branch. Even Andrew Jackson knew better than that and he didn’t even go… Read more »

Larry Brickey

Seattle is rapidly becoming a people’s republic. It has a bonafide socialist on the city council and some of the rest a close to that. I mistakenly paid that ammo tax last time I was foolish enough to go there. I hope our GOP state reps vote a new rule.

Jim Macklin

The lawyers will get paid, on both sides. It will be appealed to the SCOUS. It will be fodder for the next elections and maybe if bloomberg doesn’t buy all the print, radio and TV time, the city council and the judges will be replaced.


These “judges” were voted in. Why can they not be recalled for abusing their “power”! The People of the States with these COMMUNISTIC “leaders” need to wake up and go against them whenever their knarly heads pop up for elections.


Like this will do Seattle any good citizens and gun stores will move to other area and not pay the tax mostly on principal. The result will be segregation of the American and Unamerican races in the nation as a whole.


that was known and predicted when the illegal tax was first floated…. sure, some privte gun stores did leave Seattle. So the city not only does NOT get the added tax, they lose huge revenues from all the OTHER retail sales those places USED to condust within Seattle. The state sales tax system, and Business and Occupations taxes, all set aside a portion for the city in whcih the sale was made. There is no question that in overall revenue from theclosed/moved gun stores, Seattle is at a net loss, which I figure is substantial. Not to mentioni the HUGE… Read more »

Clark Kent

Define what are ‘American’ and ‘Unamerican’ races. By the way; which one are you?