Gun rights group calls Seattle gun tax a failure as shootings climb

The head of a national gun rights group contends the city’s controversial gun tax has done little to curb shootings in Seattle.

The 2015 measure, which placed a $25 assessment on each modern firearm and up to 5 cents on each round of ammunition sold by retailers in the city, was billed as a “gun violence tax” but Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, says it hasn’t done anything to stem the rising tide of criminal gun use in the city after looking at police statistics.

“That ‘gun violence tax’ is been a monumental failure, and we are challenging Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council to publicly admit it,” said Gottlieb in a statement. “You simply cannot provide better evidence than the Seattle Police Department’s crime statistics of such a colossally stupid idea that has not worked.”

This week authorities released a 15-page report that showed the number of gun incidents in the city is at a recent high, with 155 reports of gunshots fired in 2017 already compared to 132 in all of 2016. The figure is the highest for the past five years of data released while the number of shootings — 35 including three deaths — have already surpassed last year’s benchmark of 27.

In response to a spate of five separate shooting incidents in one 24 hour period earlier this month that left one person dead and four injured, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole issued a statement saying the agency and their partners would redouble their efforts.

“We are outraged by the gun violence, and neither our department nor our community will tolerate it,” said O’Toole.

As for the tax itself, which was billed as the city’s solution to the $17 million in medical costs from gunshot victims at the city-underwritten Harborview Medical Center in 2014, it has failed to generate the revenue forecast by its supporters. The measure was expected to garner as much as $500,000 and while the city has sandbagged efforts from Gottlieb’s group to find out just how much it produced, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess said earlier this year the tax generated less than half of that figure.

“The Council and Mayor Murray should be ashamed now that the dismal failure of their gun control scheme has been exposed,” said  Gottlieb. “They deceived Seattle citizens about how much their tax would raise and what it would accomplish, and they should be held accountable.”