City leaders approved the special tax on guns and ammunition last August but have stonewalled requests to show just how much revenue it has received as Seattle’s gun dealers vacate for the suburbs.
The tax amounted to $25 on each modern firearm and five cents on each round of ammunition larger than .22 caliber, and was expected to skim as much as a $500,000 per year from the wallets of gun owners who purchase products at one of the city’s two dozen gun shops. A reduced levee of two cents for rounds of .22 caliber and smaller is also part of the package.
Challenged by a host of gun rights groups including the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, the city is still in litigation over the tax and has since been brought to court again after refusing to releasing revenue data.
Now, Seattlepi.com is reporting the city is sandbagging the media outlet’s similar request, contending release of the data could reveal the identity of individual taxpayers and how much they paid, which is protected information under state law.
Further, the site details how large gun shops in the city are being hard hit as customers go elsewhere for better deals without the extra tax.
Mike Coombs, owner of Outdoor Emporium, says he has lost $2 million in sales as his customer traffic has dropped by a third, resulting in layoffs while his store outside of town has seen purchases soar. Should sales continue to decline, he is contemplating moving the store which has been a fixture since 1975 to nearby Issaquah or Bellevue.
Another store, Precise Shooter, picked up a lease in Lynnwood and moved there.
“I couldn’t continue business (in Seattle),” said Sergey Solyanik, owner of Precise Shooter,. “… It just wouldn’t work.”