August 10, 2017-
The Washington Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” against a challenge from gun-rights groups Thursday. In an 8-1 decision, the justices affirmed a lower court ruling that the levy was valid because it fell within the city’s taxing authority and because its primary purpose was to raise revenue for “the public benefit.” The tax, which took effect last year, adds $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city plus 2 or 5 cents per round of ammunition. It raised $200,000 in its first year, with the money earmarked for gun-violence research.
The ruling dismayed Mike Coombs, co-owner of the Outdoor Emporium in SODO. The business pays about 80 percent of the gun and ammo taxes collected in the city. It’s the largest gun seller in the city. “We’ve had to lay off some employees, and that’s been tough, and I don’t see at this point its going to get any better,” he said. He’s thinking of moving his gun department to Bellevue and tells customers to buy their guns and ammo at his store in Fife, where there is no tax.