Gun rights advocates say Seattle's new firearms, ammo tax is illegal, discriminatory

SEATTLE -- Gun rights advocates are firing back one day after the Seattle City Council passed a gun and ammunition tax.

They say the new tax violates state firearms laws and they're ready to file suit to get it overturned.

“It’s inevitable that some of the cost will get passed down on to consumers,” gun owner Paul Scherwin said.

Scherwin believes Seattle's new gun tax will trickle down to consumers with store owners having to pay $25 on each gun sold and a 5-cent tax on most rounds of ammunition.

“I think it’s very reasonable to expect a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry, the gun industry, to help offset the cost,” Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess said.

Seattle wants to raise money for research and programs aimed at preventing gun violence. City leaders say the gun tax could generate up to a half-million dollars a year.
But gun rights advocates say it will cost the city business.

“I don’t think they are going to collect anywhere near that. In fact, they might end up with a business deficit if these businesses leave the city of Seattle,” said Dave Workman, of the Second Amendment Foundation.

If the foundation has any say, the new gun tax won`t hold up in a court of law.

“I am absolutely certain there will be a lawsuit filed and there could be more than one,” Workman said

Opponents say the new law is both discriminatory and illegal.

They say local laws can`t be more strict than the state law already in place.

“They cannot exceed what the state law allows,” Workman said.

The Second Amendment Foundation sued, and won, after Seattle tried to ban firearms in city parks. Now they intend to win this battle. Scherwin hopes the law will be overturned.

“They want to pass a law so it looks like they did something,” Scherwin said.

But supporters of the new measure are calling it a small step in the right direction.

“Every step we take as a city, as a state, as a country toward gun safety is a good step,” said Margaret Heldring, of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.

In response to the lawsuit threats on Tuesday, Burgess released this statement.

“While I wish the gun lobby would join us in pursuing gun safety solutions, they’ve instead chosen the predictable path of obstruction and litigation. Gun violence negatively affects our entire community, and we’re well prepared to defend our position in court.”