Dan Gilmore / August 11, 2015

Seattle Imposes Gun Tax for the Sake of Public Health

It’s a bad time to be poor and living in Seattle.

It’s a bad time to be poor and living in Seattle. Not only is the city’s minimum wage starving out its restaurants, the city passed an ordinance that would make it that much harder for people to buy guns and ammo in city limits — a policy that would disproportionately affect those with limited means. First they target job prospects, then they take away the ability of those in the lower income brackets to defend themselves. The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a measure Monday that would impose a tax of $25 on every gun and 5 cents on every round of ammunition sold in the city. The excuses by the council are weak. They say the tax will rake in anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 a year. With that, Seattle plans on either directing it to covering the medical expenses in the city that occur because of firearms — a $17-million-a-year expense — or directing the money to study gun violence as a public health issue. But a half million dollars does not fix the problems Seattle’s council raises. As the NRA-ILA notes, “Persons of means will simply drive outside the city to purchase firearms and ammunition, while those without such options will be forced to go forego their rights or pay the tax. This is especially egregious considering how those at the lower end of the economic scale also tend to reside in areas where violent crime is the highest. One wonders whether this type of social engineering on the downtrodden is an intended feature of the legislation rather than an unfortunate consequence.”

(Updated.)

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