The City of Seattle on Monday afternoon confirmed what had long been suspected by Second Amendment advocates, that their so-called “gun violence tax” had pulled in far less than originally projected, a total of $103,766.22 for all of 2016.
When the city council hastily adopted the gun tax two years ago, then-Council President Tim Burgess projected revenues ranging from $300,000 to $500,000.
But that was before one gun shop moved its operation out of the city and another told its gun customers to buy firearms at its Fife location.
The disclosure came as the result of a successful Public Records Act (PRA) lawsuit filed by the senior editor of TheGunMag.com, a publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation. SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb issued a statement Monday, blistering the city.
“We suspected all along that the city’s predictions were fabricated,” he said. “That’s why we were happy to support the First Amendment-based lawsuit initiated by editor Dave Workman. Earlier this year when the city would only acknowledge that it had collected ‘less than $200,000’ we were certain that Seattle’s stubborn reluctance to reveal their actual revenue was a matter of embarrassment.”
Gottlieb pointed to a Sunday editorial in the Seattle Times that admitted it was “reasonable” for opponents “to assume regulatory intent by a City Council that talked about limiting gun sales,” and acknowledged that the city “didn’t help its credibility by concealing how much the gun tax raised…(The city’s) recalcitrance will result in city taxpayers paying gun advocates $35,000 in legal fees.” That doesn’t include the penalty against the city for withholding the information, he added.
“When you consider the money Seattle spent dodging Workman’s Public Records Act request,” Gottlieb observed, “combined with the fact that this gun tax caused one major retailer to move out of the city and another to refer his customers to a store in Fife, plus the losses in B&O taxes along with not coming remotely close to projections, this outrageous tax has resulted in a net loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The original PRA request had sought only the first quarter revenues, which came to $24,440.71. The second quarter revenue was even worse, at $22,531.82.
Seattle has decided not to appeal the judge’s ruling, and will be paying SAF’s attorney fees and a nominal penalty.