Aero Precision Keeping Its Word on Tacoma Gun Tax Pledge

By Larry Keane

Aero Precision makes excellent AR-15 rifles and pistols. IMG Aero Precision

U.S.A. -( Aero Precision, one of the nation’s leading firearm parts and accessories manufacturers, warned Tacoma, Wash., city officials their proposed punitive gun and ammunition tax would have consequences. Officials passed the proposed increases and instituted the taxes and fees.

Aero Precision answered back. The company and its 800 employees announced plans to expand and grow their manufacturing base in nearby Lakewood, Wash. Instead of investing in more jobs, more infrastructure, and more taxes paid to the City of Tacoma, Aero is literally sending their business elsewhere.

Warning Shots

Despite a recent model of abject failure from nearby Seattle, Tacoma city officials went forward with a proposal in 2019 to implement a tax increase on all firearms and ammunition. The tax increase, including $25 on all firearms and between 2-5 cents on all ammunition, was sold by officials to the public as a windfall, predicted to generate an extra $30,000 a year to “provide public benefit to residents of Tacoma related to gun violence…” The community decried the proposal and firearm-related businesses specifically warned it would lead to job losses in the community.

“I’m certain I will close. It’s the principle that people will have to pay for what they think is their right. You would not pay a tax to vote, pay a tax for free speech,” said Mary Davies, owner of Tacoma-based Mary’s Pistols.

Several firearm-related businesses joined in voicing their concerns and Aero Precision’s CEO Scott Dover added his caution as well. “This tax will affect not only over-the-counter sales, but it will eventually affect parts and components. It will just literally put us out of business if we were to stay in Tacoma with this type of tax.”

Tacoma’s City Council didn’t listen and passed the fees. Council Member Ryan Mello complained, “I think it is fundamentally unfair for all of us who are non-gun users to bare all of the burden of gun violence in our community.”

Council Member Mello should maybe think again about the tax base and receipts community-based firearm businesses bring in. In Seattle, Outdoor Emporium fled the city after a similar tax increase the year before led to a decrease in customer traffic of 32 percent, equating to $2 million in lost revenue. That’s a lot of dollars going to city coffers to pay for non-firearm related services for the non-gun users Mello describes.

Grow Elsewhere

Aero Precision kept its word. The Tacoma City Council passed the tax proposal in 2019 to take effect in July 2020, which was later delayed until 2021 due to COVID concerns. Still, Aero Precision kept its word, announcing an expansion to nearby Lakewood.

“We are very excited to be working with the City of Lakewood on our relocation,” Dover said. “The city representatives have been extremely welcoming, and we foresee Lakewood as the long-term home for Aero Precision as we continue to position ourselves as a top tier manufacturing facility in the State of Washington.”

Lakewood’s gain is Tacoma’s loss and a sizeable loss at that. Aero’s new facility is 268,000 square feet and will welcome some of the existing 800 employees and newcomers who will sustain the new growth. That’s a huge loss for Tacoma whose council members were looking for $30,000 in extra taxes.

Positive Side Effects

Aero is a major manufacturer of modern sporting rifle parts and accessories and will be just fine. With a $60 billion firearm industry economic footprint in 2019 and 2020 firearm sales reaching historically high levels, 2021 doesn’t show signs of slowing. More than 21 million background checks for firearm sales were conducted in 2020 and over 8.4 million were sold to first-time buyers. A full 40 percent of buyers were women. Purchases by African-Americans rose 58 percent from 2019 to 2020. Firearm retailer data for 2020 show Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) were among the most popular firearms sold and there are over 20 million in circulation today.

Tacoma could have avoided such an impactful business blunder that’s certain to benefit Lakewood. Community firearm retailers and the firearm industry commit millions to firearm education and safety programs every year. These Real Solutions have led to the lowest number of unintentional firearm fatalities since data was first tracked more than 100 years ago. There’s no doubt Aero Precision will continue leading in these efforts at their new facilities.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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Dogma Factor

The real question should be why did Aero even stay in the state of Washington? They could have moved to a free state just as well, there’s one only 6 hours drive east on Interstate 90.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dogma Factor

Retaining skilled workers, consideration for longtime employees that cannot move, existing supply chains, local pool of skilled labor due to proximity of Boeing and their sub-contractors, cost of moving a couple tens of miles instead of a couple thousand, to name a few reasons for staying in the vicinity. But no, I would not move there from some other State.

Get Out

IMOA, the owner of Outdoor Emporium should attend the next Seattle City Council meeting and rub it in that instead of gaining 30k in taxes they
lost 2 million in revenue for the city, let that loss of $$ sink in.
When the time comes Aero Precision should go back to Tacoma and tell them how much revenue they lost as well.


I think they should tell them that they are moving to another state and do it. South Dakota is my first choice.


OE is a brick & morter retailer. A manufacturer might be able to relocate to a distant area, but OE wouldn’t be able to bring along the vast majority of it’s business.


Moving to another city in Washington will only delay the inevitable. Best to move to widely gun-friendly states. Texas comes to mind and certainly Idaho, etc. Only way to deal with communist-controlled states is to vacate them.



Vacating is not “the only way”.


But you know that you’re not allowed to talk about some of the other ways. Unintended Consequences by John Ross comes to mind when I write this.


Tacoma’s City Council didn’t listen and passed the fees. Council Member Ryan Mello complained, “I think it is fundamentally unfair for all of us who are non-gun users to bare all of the burden of gun violence in our community.”
Sir, How many brain cells are functioning inside of your skull? Apparently, VERY FEW!! We LAW ABIDING AMERICAN CITIZENS are WANTON to harm NO ONE. YOU SIR, have leveled a TAX upon a very specific group of Americans. According to the American Constitutional LAWS of the LAND, THIS ACTION IS ILLEGAL — no matter how many IDIOTS vote for it!!!!!!!!


Not to bring up the FACT that the Legislature of the State of Washington is the ONLY entity within the state that can impose any laws relating to firearms anywhere within the state. NO OTHER political entity is allowed to enact any burden, restriction, limitation, upon firearms than are already inflicted by State Law, and a tax specifically on firearms/ammunition IS precisely that, and thus unconstitutional in Washington STate.
If I were Aero I’d be filing a federal lawsuit in the courthouse just down the hill from City Hall, the old Union Station.


All businesses should leave Seattle and Tacoma because of this. When the tax revenue goes to nearly zero these cities would then realize how really stupid their move was.


No they won’t.


“I just want to say…I told you so! Nah nah nah nah!”


All talk, not guts. You have inalienable rights for a reason.


No one said local governments had smart people, just arrogant ones. Tacoma like Seattle are becoming liberal havens which will find themselves spending more money to keep their cities from burning while watching revenue producing communities flee.


It is crazy to even remain in the State of Washington. The policies of Seattle and Tacoma are destined to become statewide policies. Better make the move to states with deep appreciation of the 2nd Amendment and lower taxes.


Well with biden and kamalatoe for president, the left coast is in charge of the whole country. I have been thinking about moving for about a year but was waiting to see what the election brought us. Now the whole country will be subjected to their laws. I am going to stay put and wait for the state that clearly says we will not take your AR or your right to carry away. They will get all of my money that I receive each month.


Stay put and RESIST!


If you are going to go on the run make sure you are getting to safe ground. Aero may be gaining a little safety for now but this same tax and crush policy is now being proposed in the WA State legislature. They now have bills in committee that will make it a felony to possess, transfer, sell or manufacture ‘assault weapons’ in the State formerly known as Washington and now known as the Republic of Lenin. The sheeple of that sad state will go along with it gleefully as high paying jobs flee to Idaho, Texas and Arizona. Stupid… Read more »

Get Out

Help them out, if you’re in the area make it a point to visit Aero Precision and Outdoor Emporium to let them know you support them 100% for their move. If at all possible buy some of their merchandise to help rub it in monetarily too.


unfair for all of us who are non-gun users to bare all of the burden of gun violence Eedjit needs to go back to grade school first What is he exposing, or “baring” anyway:? His logic is not much better than his grammar. You “non-gun userss” are not “baring” nor even bearing any burden for “gun violence”. Guns commit NO violance. Get your sick police department and prosecutors busy to DO what they are PAID far too much to not do, and perhaps there will be fewer incidents of violence perpetrated by or upon your residents. There are parts of… Read more »


Psychopathic control freaks will be psychopathic control freaks. They are so hung up on their “Invincibility” that they can help it. It’s part of their personality of psychopathy.

Ryben Flynn

They shuld have moved a few miles further to the East to Idaho in the top 5 list of gun friendly States. But that’s just what I would have done.