State High Court: Seattle Can Continue Taxing Gun Sales

Aug 10, 2017

Washington's Supreme Court has ruled that Seattle's gun tax is constitutionally valid and can continue. Gun rights advocates have argued Seattle's firearms tax is effectively a regulation on gun sales. They called the tax unconstitutional due to a Washington law that gives the state, not a city, the authority to regulate firearms.

In their 8-to-1 decision Thursday, the state Supreme Court disagreed and ruled that Seattle's tax is simply a tax – not a regulation.

The plaintiffs in the case said the ruling is disappointing, and they’re turning their frustration to the Supreme Court justices.

Supporters of gun rights said the ruling is an example of why Supreme Court elections are so important. Second Amendment Foundation Communications Director Dave Workman is a plaintiff in the case.

"The state Supreme Court, they're the final arbiter of state law, and in this case I think it might be a wakeup call to Washington state gun owners to pay more attention to that,” Workman said.

The Seattle city council started enforcing the gun tax in 2016. Dealers are taxed $25 per gun sale, and 2 to 5 cents for ammunition.

Workman said the tax has already caused some gun stores to relocate out of Seattle. He said he's concerned other cities might make similar moves, now that the Supreme Court upheld Seattle's law.

Copyright 2017 KUOW