Judge upholds Seattle’s ‘gun violence’ tax

A county judge dismissed a case filed by the National Rifle Association and other gun groups that challenge’s Seattle’s so called “gun violence” tax.

Because of the ruling, the city’s $25-per-firearm tax on firearm sales goes becomes law at New Year’s Day, and the NRA and a host of other plaintiffs, notably the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation, must pay taxable costs and attorney fees.

In his opinion issued Dec. 22, Judge Palmer Robinson denied a motion for summary judgement by the gun groups, and deemed the ordinance as a lawful exercise of the city’s taxing authority, not a regulation.

The measure was approved in August and will require firearms dealers to pay $25 for every firearm sold and 2- or 5-cents per round of ammunition sold (the price changes depending on the caliber). The city estimates the tax will raise between $300,000 to $500,000 annually.

City officials are celebrating the win. “We established the gun violence tax as a legitimate and appropriate way to raise revenue for gun safety research and prevention programs,” said Tim Burgess, the city council’s president who sponsored the legislation.

“The NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic,” he said. “They have blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. But in Seattle it is different. Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.”

SAF issued a statement shortly after the ruling, stating that it will file an appeal. “We are disappointed and strongly disagree with Judge Palmer Robinson’s ruling, and we are confident that the State Court of Appeals will ultimately concur with our position,” said Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president.