Tacoma City Council Considering Bill to Tax Gun and Ammo a la Chicago

Friday, October 25, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Friday, 25 October 2019

Pending before the Tacoma (Washington) City Council is an ordinance that would impose a tax on the purchase of guns and ammunition. The proposal is substantially similar to a measure passed by the City of Chicago in 2015, and everybody knows that there if is one place where restrictive gun laws have nearly eliminated gun crime, it’s Chicago, Illinois.


At a hearing of the Tacoma City Council held on Tuesday, October 22, members listened to the first reading of the proposal and are scheduled to hear the final reading and vote on the measure in one week, on October 29.

Ordinance 28623 — the “Firearms and Ammunition Tax” — imposes the following taxes:

a tax on firearms and ammunition to consist of $25.00 per firearm sold at retail, $0.02 per round of ammunition .22 caliber or less, and $0.05 per round of other ammunition sold at retail to raise revenue for funding programs that promote public safety, prevent gun violence, and help offset the impacts and costs of gun violence in the City.

It isn’t bad enough that the state of Washington is becoming, as one story described it, “the gun control petri dish for testing every new scheme that comes along,” but if they were dead set on disarming their citizens, shouldn’t the town leaders at least try to find a better template to follow than Chicago?

In case anyone hasn’t heard, Chicago is one of the world’s most violent cities. In 2018, 530 people were murdered in Chicago.

So, who’s going to tell Tacoma city councilmen that if they’re wanting to “prevent gun violence” as the ordinance claims, they’re going to have to start looking around for a better bill.

In nearby Seattle, the same ordinance was passed in 2015, and Dave Workman reported on the “law’s” progress since passage:

When Seattle pushed through the tax, proponents predicted it would raise between $300,000 and $500,000. In reality, the first year brought in $103,766, the second year saw revenue drop to $93,220 and last year the city brought in only $77,518. The gun tax caused one of Seattle’s two major gun dealers [to] move his business to Lynnwood, in a neighboring county. The other major shop began referring its customers to a separate store outside the city, also in another county, so the city not only lost out on the gun tax, it lost the Business & Occupation taxes as well.

Of course, as with any attempt to disarm civilians (remember: there has never been a single attempt to completely remove guns from a populace; there have been measures to take guns from civilians by force and leave them in the hands of police and the military, for example) the ultimate aim is deprive all but those few government agents of the ability to put up any armed resistance to efforts by government to accumulate control over every aspect of life, liberty, and property.

As is explained so lucidly and logically by Founding-era jurist, St. George Tucker:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…. The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

Unless the citizens of Tacoma step up and prevent their “leaders” from turning a right given to them by God — the right to defend one’s life, liberty, and property — into a privilege given or denied to them by government and for which they must pay the appropriate fee.

If such an arrangement isn’t the very picture of liberty “on the brink of destruction,” I don’t know what it would look like.

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