Gun rights activists in Western Washington are encouraging gun owners living in and outside the city of Tacoma to attend a Tuesday evening meeting where the Tacoma City Council will hear from them on a proposal to place a special tax on the sale of guns and ammunition within city limits.
The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at 747 Market Street, at the Tacoma City Hall.
Patterned after similar requirements in Seattle and Chicago, Ill., this tax would add $25 to the sale of each firearm, and a nickel per round on centerfire ammunition, and two cents per round of rimfire ammunition. See the details here.
Second Amendment advocates consider this to be placing a financial burden on people who have committed no crime; penalizing honest citizens for the misbehavior of criminals. Gun owners will try to convince the city that this will only drive business out of town, and that criminals won’t be burdened by the law, anyway.
It comes just days after Tacoma police fatally shot an armed 24-year-old man during a traffic stop early Sunday. That incident is being investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department under a new state law that prohibits law enforcement agencies from investigating their own officer-involved shootings, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
The newspaper said a handgun was recovered at the scene, and that the dead man apparently was wanted on multiple arrest warrants.
Just days before that, a man was fatally stabbed just outside a Tacoma park, in broad daylight. The gun tax would have had no relation to that crime.
In 2015, the Seattle City Council led by then-Councilman Tim Burgess, hastily adopted the gun tax for the purpose of providing money to study “gun violence” and to initiate some measures to combat gun-related crime. Burgess predicted revenue of between $300,000 and $500,000 annually from the tax, but an investigation by TheGunMag.com revealed a dramatic shortfall in that prediction. It required a Public Records Act lawsuit in King County Superior Court to obtain actual revenue figures, which have fallen every year since the tax collection started in 2016. The first year, the tax brought in $103,766.22, according to the city. In 2017, revenue declined to $93,220.74 and last year the figure was $77,518.
One of Seattle’s two largest firearms retail outlets closed shop and moved north into another county and city, taking its Seattle customers with it. The other store now routinely sends its firearms customers south to its outlet in Pierce County, again taking those sales out of the city.
At the Tuesday meeting, speakers will be allowed three minutes to give their opinion, according to the notice on Facebook.