Tacoma Gun & Ammunition Tax Passes City Council Unanimously

New Connecticut Bill would Add a 50% Tax to Ammunition
Tacoma Gun & Ammunition Tax Passes City Council Unanimously

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- On 12 November 2019, the Tacoma City Council passed its controversial tax on guns and ammunition. The tax is based on a similar tax in Seattle.  The vote was unanimous, 8-0. 112 people were reported to have spoken on the issue.

To an ordinary reader, the tax would seem to violate the Washington State preemption law. The Washington Supreme Court held differently in 2017. It voted that a tax was not a regulation. One judge dissented, writing it was obvious the tax was aimed specifically at firearms. From the opinion:

That different inquiry centers on the language of the preemption statute itself. Here, RCW 9.41.290 uses deliberately broad language that clearly encompasses both regulations and “laws and ordinances” if they have any relationship to “the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof.” RCW 9.41.290. Seattle Ordinance 124833 has a very close relationship with the “purchase, sale, acquisition, [and] transfer” of firearms–it targets them! Thus, while a uniform local tax that incidentally hits on sales of this product (while taxing various and sundry products) might not have a sufficient relationship with firearms to suffer preemption, this ordinance-which targets only firearms-certainly does. I therefore respectfully dissent.

The Tacoma tax is scheduled to go into effect on 1 July 2019. It will be $25 per firearm sold, 2 cents per cartridge of .22 caliber or less, and 5 cents for each larger cartridges.

Seattle's tax has had expected results.  Dedicated gun shops have been driven from the city.  According to preciseshooter.com:

Prioir (sic) to this “tax” being implemented, Seattle had only two stores that specialized in selling guns – and just three sizeable gun operations including Outdoors Emporium, which was a general purpose sporting goods store with a large gun counter. Since the “tax” was implemented, both gun stores – including Precise Shooter – moved out of town, because it was financially impossible to compete with suburban gun stores who do not have to collect this “tax”.

Seattle claimed the tax would generate $300,000 to $500,000. The City refused to publish the amount of tax generated until forced to do so by a lawsuit. The tax generated just under 104,000 in 2016 and just over $93,000 in 2017.  Almost certainly, the City lost more in lost sales tax revenue, as gun owners purchased guns and ammunition outside of city limits. Ammunition is also available through mail-order sales.

The tax is not about revenue. It is about making a moral statement.  In the mind of the proponents, guns cause violence. Guns are bad. Gun shops are bad. We don't want your kind around here.

It is not a logical argument. Only a tiny percentage of guns are used in crime every year, about .075%. Even draconian restrictions on gun ownership do not make a difference in homicide levels.

The idea that guns cause violence is simple, seductive, and false.

Tacoma has much more to lose than Seattle. Seattle's two dedicated gun shops moved to the suburbs. Seattle lost some tax revenue. Seattle gun owners were inconvenienced.

Tacoma has a couple of guns shops. They will likely move. It is also home to Aero Precision, a successful and growing firearms manufacturer. Aero Precision is home to about 400 jobs, according to Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Aero Precision was awarded the large manufacturing firm Gold Award for Washington State in 2017.

Aero Precision's Chief Executive Officer, Scott Dover, says the tax will make it difficult for them to be competitive, according to Fox News. It is unknown if Aero Precision will stay in Tacoma or move.  Moving is expensive. One option might be for Aero Precision to move its assembly plant, or shipping operations, outside the City, thus making its sales outside the city.

It seems unlikely the City could tax sales made outside the City limits. In a state where a tax on guns and ammunition is not considered to be a law or ordinance affecting gun sales, a court might rule otherwise.



About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Tionico
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Tionico

I also learned today that the City of Tacoma have a law or ordinance prohibiting the carrying of all weapons in city owned properties, even with the state issued Mother May I Card. The goon evicting me from the city owned/operated building could not cite the actual law, as they are requred to be able to do, he just told me it is prohibited and I’d have to leave. He did not say so specifically but I know the next step is to call LE and have them escort me out under threat of arrest for criminal tresspass… a bust… Read more »

tomcat
Member
tomcat

The answer is very simple, go out of town to buy your stuff. More than likely you can’t shoot in the city anyway. These politicians are not exactly rocket scientist.

Tionico
Member
Tionico

There are a few places within the city where one CAN shoot, legally. But that is irrelevant. A tax imposed on the acquisitioin of firearms or ammunition is contrary to state preemption laws, AND it unfairly burdens any operation that sells guns or ammunition at retail wihtin the city limit. Dont forget that nearly al pawn shops also sell guns.. a very popular item for pawning. I can think of perhaps a dozen such places within Tacoma city lilmits. Mu guess is these outfits, already haveing divested themselves from all semi-automatic weapons (most have wholesaled them off in bulk sales… Read more »

Laddyboy
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Laddyboy

My understanding of the law PROHIBITS the TAXATION of a “specialty” item or product that is bought or sold. This TAX is DIRECTLY and SOLELY towards guns and ammo. Thus, this tax IS UNLAWFUL!!!!! I do not care what some RADICALIZED LEFT LEANING DemoNAZI says.

Will
Member
Will

@Laddyboy,you’re right,it’s illegal and unconstitutional as hell !

noneoftheabove
Member
noneoftheabove

Every sign-in, post and vote dumbass.

noneoftheabove
Member
noneoftheabove

Today is the day!!! Like a foot… a big fat foot!!

Intrceptor
Member
Intrceptor

Sadly, there is already a federal excise tax on guns and ammo that is paid by the manufacturer when they make a sale to their distributors. This is another level of taxation.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Int, Are you referring to the Pittman-Robertson Act? Even in the height of the Great Depression, sportsmen voted to tax themselves for the benefit of wildlife. The actual title is the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. It was proposed by sportsmen and passed by Congress in 1937. It placed an excise tax on the sale of sporting arms and ammunition with the funds earmarked for wildlife conservation and distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies. In 2016, $700 million were generated and to date, nearly $10 billion has been distributed to states. Pittman-Robertson has been an enormous wildlife success… Read more »

Tionico
Member
Tionico

This special item tax on the retail sale of specific items is an unconstitutioinal burden placed as a precondition against the exercise of a right guaranteed by both the US andWashingotnState constitutions. Thus it is ILLEGAL. THe Supreme Court has held that a “poll tax”, , a tax to be paid as a preconditioin to the exercise of one’s right to vote, is an unconstitutionial burden on that right. So, no voters registration, voting or ballot, fees, no individual tax being demanded as a condition of votiing, anywhere in the US. Washington State law also preempts ANY local law or… Read more »

joefoam
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joefoam

Tacoma city council has officially defined themselves a being insane. They are going to enact the same law that Seattle did and expect different results. The revenue will fall short, and gun purchasers will simply shop out of town.

Will
Member
Will

@joefoam,Tacoma city council insanity was already well known. They will probably do what Kali did and pass some bullshit ordinance making it illegal to import firearms,Ammo,parts,..etc.

noneoftheabove
Member
noneoftheabove

You don’t know jackshit about what anyone will do.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@White, He said “probably”, which is letting the reader know up front that he is venturing a guess, as we all do occasionally. He did not say, nor can any of us, that he knew for positively sure, in advance.
There is plenty to quibble about with our enemies.

noneoftheabove
Member
noneoftheabove

You are really that dumb asshat!

noneoftheabove
Member
noneoftheabove

Another one bites it.

StWayne
Member
StWayne

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

tetejaun
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tetejaun

The democrat politicians want a One World communist government. Disarming those uppity gun owners is of high importance. Putting communist politicians in the ground is of high importance, too. Americans, unlike any other people on Earth, have a Constitutional Right & Duty to CONTROL their government, by force of arms if necessary. Unfortunately, cowardice and apathy has too many Americans sitting and being silent as the country slowly becomes a part of this Agenda 21 one world government plan. If only ONE city would rise up, do their Constitutional Duty, the whole communist house of cards would fall. ONLY the… Read more »

Laddyboy
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Laddyboy

Would that your “advice” would not get THOUSANDS of LAW ABIDING American CITIZENS THROWN INTO PRISON! Do not even THINK of following “tetejaun’s” “advice” without YOU researching YOUR STATE LAWS FIRST.

Finnky
Member
Finnky

@LB – You are so right. Any ONE who stands up will be hammered back down. If I’m reading @TJ’s post correctly – he is suggesting sedition and violent overthrow of the current government. Perhaps superman could take them on, but even thousands attempting to take @TJ’s advice together would lose in a horrific fashion. In the process, their acts instigating violence would provide propaganda fodder and promote further erosion of our rights. Certainly not the end he seeks. @TJ is correct that we each need to stand up to be heard and seen as opposing governmental over-reach. We must… Read more »