The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, joined forces with the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, Seattle-based retailers and gun owners in filing a lawsuit today in King County Superior Court challenging the City of Seattle’s recently approved sales tax of $25 on each firearm sold and five cents for each round of ammunition (two cents for .22 caliber).
NSSF and other pro-gun groups fought the city ordinance, labeled a “gun violence tax,” but the City Council nevertheless approved the measure on Aug. 10, 2015, and Mayor Ed Murray signed it last week.
“NSSF has no alternative but to be an active party in this lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s attempt to interfere in the lawful commerce in firearms and ammunition on the grounds that it violates Washington State’s preemption statute that blocks cities from regulating the sale of firearms on their own.” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Seattle ordinance is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business.”
NSSF says the law is misguided because criminals do not purchase guns through legal means, and that the tax will generate far less revenue than projected because customers will simply go outside the city to make their purchases and Seattle’s licensed firearms retailers will be forced to move their businesses or simply be forced out of business.
“Once again, anti-gun activists in Seattle have chosen to violate the Washington State Constitution and trample upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “They tried to enact similar regulations back in 2009 and lost. It’s a shame to see such a waste of public resources on issues the courts have already ruled to be unconstitutional.”
“We’ve been down this path before with Seattle when we sued them and won, knocking out their attempt to ban guns in city park facilities,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “The city does not seem to understand that no matter how they wrap this package, it’s still a gun control law and it violates Washington’s long-standing preemption statute.”