Seattle City Council Ignores State Law: Passes Per-Bullet Tax in City Limits

UNITED STATES, Salt Lake City : SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 15: Ammo and a high capacity 30 round clip sits on the table at the "Get Some Guns & Ammo" shooting range on January 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lawmakers are calling for tougher gun legislation …
George Frey/Getty Images/AFP

On August 10, the Seattle City Council ignored Washington’s preemptive statute on gun laws and unanimously passed a five cent tax that will be applied to every bullet sold within city limits. The ordinance will also place a $25 tax on every firearm sold in city limits.

Breitbart News previously reported the tax was pushed by City Council president Tim Burgess, who suggested the expense of caring for gunshot victims in 2014 merited a punitive tax forcing the gun industry to pay its fair share. Burgess did not consider the fact that the tax will not be paid by gun or ammo makers but by law-abiding citizens purchasing guns and ammo at retail outlets. Moreover, he did not consider that law-abiding citizens were not the driving force behind a high number of gunshot victims in 2014. Rather, criminals who buy their guns and ammo on the streets were.

His tax will never touch those criminals.

Moreover, Burgess’ tax flies in the face of Washington’s preemption statute. The Seattle Times explained that statute forbids municipalities from passing regulations that impact “registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation… or any other element” of firearm ownership or commerce. Because of this, Burgess himself admitted that the city will likely face lawsuits if his tax is enacted.

Yet the City Council unanimously supported the measure by an 8-0 vote?

NBC 6 reports that opponents of the tax vow a swift legal response in light of the state’s preemption statute.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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