Tacoma, Washington Gun Tax Based on False Premises

9mm-Ammunition-infospeed-iStock-174077869
WA: Tacoma Gun Tax Based on False Premises iStock-174077869

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- In Tacoma, Washington, the City Council is proposing a special tax on guns and ammunition. From q13fox.com:

Tacoma is considering implementing a tax that would add $25 to all firearms purchase. The tax would also add 2 cents per round to ammunition purchases that is .22 Caliber or less and add 5 cents per round to all other ammunition.

Such a tax should be held unconstitutional because it chills the right to keep and bear arms, protected by both the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution.

The proposed tax seems to violate the state preemption statute.  From leg.wa.gov:

RCW 9.41.290

State preemption. 

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, as in RCW 9.41.300, 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with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

When Seattle imposed a tax on guns and ammunition, the Washington Supreme Court has held a tax on guns is not a regulation of guns.  It upheld the ability of cities to tax guns and ammunition in 2017. The Washington Supreme Court can not be counted on to protect the Citizens of Tacoma from the gun tax.

Aside from potential legal challenges to the tax, the stated theory behind the tax is incorrect. As with many issues in this era, it relies on basic assumptions about the universe which divide the United States into two opposing ideologies.

One group holds that men and women have free will, constrained by objective reality. That group holds people to make choices and should be held responsible for those choices. Those concepts are part of Natural Law theory, which underlies the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

The other group holds that men and women have very little free will. What they do is determined by their environment and the groups they were born into. They are not responsible for their choices. Those concepts are part of Leftist ideology, especially, in the United States, Progressive ideology.

The theory behind the tax is the mere existence of guns in a community increases the level of costs, thereby increasing the costs to the community. Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards compared a tax on firearms to a tax on gasoline: From twitter.com:

That’s like saying, ‘My car is in the driveway and I only drive it two days a week, not seven days a week, but every time I go to the gas station, I still have to pay the tax when I fill it up.’

The tax on gasoline is a use tax. When you drive a car, it causes wear on the roadways. If you travel much, roads have to be created and maintained. The gasoline tax, while not perfect, does a pretty good job of charging the users of the road with its costs.  Cars do not repair the roadway as they use it.

It is a poor analogy to a tax on guns and ammunition. Legally owned guns do not necessarily create costs in a community. It is likely the use of guns prevent as many or more costs than they create. Most of what is categorized in the Orwellian term “gun violence” are suicides committed with guns. Most of those suicides are committed by old, sick, white, men. Those suicides probably prevent the expenditure of funds for medical care much more than they cost them. When guns have been restricted, overall suicide rates have not decreased. The presence of guns has little effect on suicides or costs with suicides.

In addition, large numbers of crimes are prevented by people who use guns to do so.  In the car and road analogy, it would be as if cars automatically repaired the roads they drove on. Few would dispute that police use guns to prevent crime, or the military uses guns to prevent invasion. Only the use of guns by individual citizens is in dispute.

So-called “studies” that only look at the costs of people injured with guns never consider the costs prevented by people who use guns. Injuries and crimes committed with guns are much easier to quantify than injuries and crimes prevented by the use of guns.

A closer analogy would be a tax on hospitals. Millions of people a year die and are injured in hospitals. Taxing the hospitals to pay for medical costs is would be silly. Similarly, taxing guns to pay for the costs of gun injuries without considering the benefits of the use of guns is silly.

It is more reasonable to encourage the ownership and use of guns for beneficial purposes than to tax them.

The group who believe in the Constitution, responsibility, and natural law, believe those who violate the law should be responsible to pay the costs they create.

The group who believes in leftist, Progressive ideology, believes individuals are not responsible. It is the group that must be held responsible. Therefore gun owners, who had nothing to do with costs associated mostly with criminals, should pay for those costs with a tax on guns.

Those who do not own guns are willing to tax those who do, primarily for a political statement.  The primary effect of a Tacoma tax on guns would be to drive gun retailers out of the City of Tacoma. Aero Precision is a gun manufacturer based in Tacoma. They are reported to employ hundreds of people. The CEO, Scott Dover, was quoted as saying his employees are very concerned with the effects of the tax proposal.

The vote on the Tacoma gun tax may take place on Tuesday, 12 November, 2019. If enough irate citizens show up, the tax may be tabled or postponed again.


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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tetejaunIntrceptorwillheavyHankusStWayne Recent comment authors
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tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

Gov. Jay Inslee has said that the “..people have no right to own guns, especially assault weapons.”
The lesbian weirdo governor of Oregon has said almost the exact same words.

You see, tyrants do not allow their slaves to be armed.
In 2016, only 43% of Republicans voted.
You have NO ONE to blame but ourselves. I guess that 57% of Republicans were just TOO BUSY to vote for freedom & Liberty.
So, get your friends & relatives to vote and we can get rid of these one-world communist government types. Voting is easy. A revolution is hard.
Your decision.

willheavy
Member
willheavy

The Twitter post from Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards states that buying ammunition is similar to the tax on gasoline – a usage tax. Only those that “use” the commodity would pay the tax. I agree, and I agree with the statement that since the gas tax goes “directly” (we know every penny doesn’t go to the purported government function or service…) to repair roads that are used by gasoline engines, then the logical cry to Tacoma government should be: WHERE ARE THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDED SERVICES FOR FIREARM AND AMMUNITION BUYERS PAYING THE TAX? 🙂 That means that there should be… Read more »

tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

Wow. You took a long trip down a dead end road.
The Second Amendment is the ONLY Right with the COMMAND and ORDER “..shall not be infringed.”
The American People are the POWER in America in our Republic. They have the Constitutional Right & Duty to control government by force if necessary.
So, cry me a river. When the screaming yellow coward Americans finally stand up and demand, by force, their non-infringed Rights, things will change. Until then, we continue down the path to a communist one-world government.

Hankus
Member
Hankus

“The Washington Supreme Court can not be counted on to protect the Citizens of Tacoma from the gun tax.” Let’s turn that negative statement into a positive one: The Washington Supreme Court can always be counted on to give rubber stamp approval on any gun control legislation that comes before it. You missed an important statement given by Tacoma Mayor-Sow Victoria Woodards in an interview by Q13 “news”. She stated adamantly that lawful gun owners should foot the bill for damages from “gun violence”. How do you fight illogic of that magnitude? The power of stupid is very strong in… Read more »

StWayne
Member
StWayne

And all they are going to do with all that extra money is further deny you your right to keep and bear arms. Buy a gun, buy ammo for that gun, and you will have slipped the noose around your own neck. Neat how the left figured that one out, eh?

Tionico
Member
Tionico

Seattle had all these rosy predictions about the amounts of tax that would be paid into the city coffers. As they were considering the tax at the city level, the owner of the largest private (not corporate like Big Five, Fred Meyers, Cabelas) gun stores in the Northwest, located within the city limits, appeared at one of the council meetings…. stood up…. and declared “IF you enact this tax, I WILL move my gun store OUTSIDE the City of Seattle, You will thus not get one penny of the tax dollars you now hope to get from MY store. Further,… Read more »

SGT_Wombat
Member
SGT_Wombat

“Such a tax should be held unconstitutional because it chills the right to keep and bear arms, protected by both the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution.”

The that to Crook (Cook) county in Illinois. We have the same tax here.

Illinois Constitution
SECTION 22. RIGHT TO ARMS
Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

Yet, in Illinois you have to have a government-issued card to buy a gun and ammo.
So, you have to get GOVERNMENT permission to exercise your Rights. THAT is unconstitutional.
NO LAW may be in contravention to the Constitution and stand.
Miss that in Civics Class?

Laddyboy
Member
Laddyboy

Taxes placed specifically on a CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT – – – IS UNLAWFUL!!!

Vern
Member
Vern

When money has become your god, you can never get enough, and if you are a politician, you don’t care what it takes to worship your god or who you have to hurt to get what you want.
What we see today is typical of the religion of the left.

MICHAEL J
Member
MICHAEL J

The goal it seems of any socalist run government is to think for and control it’s subject’s behaviors and habits. They do this by imposing monetary penalties in an effort to bring about change that fits their agenda regardless of its effectiveness. These self-serving tyrants no longer represent their constituents but have taken it upon themselves to decide what is or is not good for you. In short you cannot be trusted with your own choices. Imposing unjust taxes, fees and penalties will just make people seek other ways to circumvent the system. Those who make these asinine laws could… Read more »

Ryben Flynn
Member
Ryben Flynn

Are they planning to tax the other guaranteed Rights in the Bill of Rights?
Tax Freedom of the Press?
Tax Freedom of Speech?
Tax Freedom of Religion?
How do you think that would fly?

Stripeseven
Member
Stripeseven

There is already a sales tax. Anything more than that are attempts to separate you and your money, with a touch of rights deprivation included. Just like the criminals that they are, they conspire to cause as much chaos and strife that they can. They know what they’re attempting to do. That smirk on their faces tells all…Freedom is being held hostage…

Intrceptor
Member
Intrceptor

There is also already a federal excise tax on guns and ammunition. 10% on handguns and 11% on long guns and ammunition. It is collected by the manufacturers and sent to the US Government.

Darkman
Member
Darkman

Just like the Supreme Court ruled Obama Care legal because it is a tax. Which the government has the right to do. Since it holds a taxing authority. What will stop the courts from affirming this for the same reason. Expecting or relying on the courts to Protect Our Rights. Is as much a Fool’s Folly as expecting Politicians too. Not only the 2nd Amendment. The 1st Amendment is/has been under attack by a thousand cuts. Slowly over time they as well as other Rights are being stripped of Their Intent. As well as the Protective Authority. This a sad… Read more »

Tionico
Member
Tionico

Roberts had a figurative gun to his head. Someone had some dirt on him. He’s been changed since that vote. What the dimwit failed to remember, or maybe hoped everyone ELSE would fail toremember ,is that at the Fed level ALL taxing legislation can ONLY arise from one of our two “houses”, and OhBummerTax originated in the wrong house. Thus even as a tax it is illegal.

But such are the machinations of the Deep State under which we suffer.