Jordan Candler / November 7, 2016

Seattle Conceals ‘Gun Tax’ Debacle

The tax hasn’t exactly been a boon for the city.

Welcome to Seattle, where a “gun violence” tax implemented in 2015 has predictably turned into an abject failure — though don’t expect city officials to admit it. We begin with one gun dealer’s experience and the tax’s harmful effects on business. Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“Mike Coombs, owner of Sodo’s Outdoor Emporium, says he has laid off three employees and taken a $2 million hit in sales so far in 2016. His customer count, he says, is also down by 32 percent. Meanwhile, Coombs says his other store — Sportco in Fife — has seen a 10 percent to 12 percent increase in sales. He blames the Seattle gun violence tax, passed last year and implemented Jan. 1. The ordinance charges a $25 tax for every firearm sold in the city and 5 cents for every round of ammunition of .22 caliber or greater. Given that ammunition comes bundled in boxes, those nickels can add up.”

The tax hasn’t exactly been a boon for the city, either. The story goes on to note, “Coombs estimates he’s sent the city $60,000 through the third quarter from the gun tax, but says the city has also lost more than $600,000 in sales tax due to his plummeting sales.” Talk about misfiring. Despite several efforts by both gun advocates and journalists to force the city’s hand in revealing tax numbers, it isn’t budging. The Seattle Post Intelligencer notes the city pledged “to fund a program at Harborview Medical Center that aims to reduce the aftereffects of gun violence” by using increased tax revenue from gun sales. No wonder there’s secrecy — publicly exposing the lack of funds would only serve to irreparably tarnish the city’s conjured up narrative.

It would also create a firestorm among taxpayers. Even though gun tax revenue has fallen short, that hasn’t stopped city officials from robbing everyone else. As the report also explains, “Harborview Medical Center confirmed [last] week that because the ordinance remains contested in court, the tax revenue remains untouched and the hospital is instead getting the money for its gun violence program from the city’s general fund.” Sure, city gun sales are down — which is exactly what leftists wanted. But Seattle lost a serious cash flow too in its ridiculous pursuit to purge the city of guns. Even more damning, it didn’t exactly purge them from surrounding areas, as gun dealers are responding by moving business elsewhere. The more neutral suburbs are more than happy to revel in the windfall.

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