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Seattle City Council Passes Forcible Tax on Firearms Market; Calls it ‘Public Health’ Issue
by Ezra Van Auken
Ah – another day, another taxman employed by the state. That’s potentially the case in the city of Seattle for firearms owners after the approval by lawmakers. Decisively taking an ‘8-0’ vote count, city council members passed new taxation fees that would forcibly take $25.00 per firearm from buyers in any transaction with a licensed store. The additional tax is on ammunition, and would charge 0.05 cents per round.
Proponents of the new tax believe that revenue could fund research projects and prevention programs – how fitting. Tim Burgess, the Council President said, “Every day, the general public pays the enormous cost of gun violence,” going on to add that firearm violence is a ‘public health’ issue throughout the country. The civil servants claim that the firearm tax would reel in anywhere from a quarter million to a half million each year. However, gun store owners distrust the claim, saying the revenue number is ‘inflated’.
Also included with the passage of grandiose tax fees is the law which requires victims of robbery or misplaced firearms to report the incident – all process is mandatory under said law. According to local KOMONews, the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, supports both passed ordinances by the city council. What’s being construed as logical conclusion is council member Burgess’ explanation that ‘gun producers’ should pay for ‘gun violence’.
After all, aren’t the sellers and producers of firearms ultimately responsible for the end result of firearm use – or maybe that’s just the impractical and illogical talking point of a state authoritarian. In hindsight, the authoritative council will ignore the realization that its own edict is responsible for the use of firearms – the use of force – as law has to be enforced in some fashion. This would inevitably mean the same politicos passing law against firearms are using firearms to enforce law onto the general people. Hypocrisy.
Besides, what responsibility does the gun producer or seller hold, if one of their previously owned firearms is used in a violent situation? Once the buyer sells the firearm over to the customer, it is no longer their property, it is the customer’s property and therefore responsibility. The intent of the seller is to provide the customer with a reliable product, not run his personal life; so the authoritarians forcing the seller’s hand onto his own wallet or the buyer’s wallet is a double checkmate.
And while there is little talk about the economic effect of firearm and ammo taxes, owners of firearm shops in Seattle are surely going to feel money tighten as they lose out on potential gains. Richard Oxley of MyNorthwest.com writes, “For example, Solyanik said that his gun store grossed $22,000 during the first six months of 2015. That is before he pays expenses. He estimates that if he paid the city’s taxes himself, instead of passing them along to the customer, it would cost $23,500.” Seattle’s gun stores are under threat.
Not only will the business-dealing of firearms become more difficult because of tax mandates, the Seattle stores will have to deal with competing county stores that wouldn’t feel any tax threats. So in either case, the individual with criminal goal to do bodily harm with a firearm can either cross over the city line to purchase a firearm or purchase a firearm inside the city – paying a larger fee; if the business passes the taxation burden onto the consumer.
To make an even larger point on the logic of prohibitory regulation, if firearms account for 69% of homicides, 17% of robberies and 8% of aggravated assaults [between January 2012 and May 2015] then the other 31% of homicides, 83% of robberies and 92% of aggravated assaults should also be noted for; and whatever ‘primary tool’ was used in the violent crimes should be done away with – regulated and prohibited. The council members want to stop all crime, not just firearm-involved crime, right?
Since January of 2012, over 2,500 firearms have been confiscated or taken by the Seattle City police department, confirming that prohibitory regulations have not worked in keeping firearms out of the wrong hands – something that is more of a pipe dream than anything else.
Suppose anyway that you are taxing every firearm owner across the board, doesn’t that presume then firearm owners in general have a ‘health issue’. Otherwise, you are forcibly taking wealth from a non-violent firearm owner to then hand off to researchers who are going to conclude that firearms are used in violent situations. It’s as if the politician has thunk the nutty idea that all firearms are inherently relative and therefore firearm owners hold collective responsibility for any time a firearm has been used in a criminal manner.
The State Weekly called the council member office of Tim Burgess, but the office declined to comment.