Washington Supreme Court Upholds Seattle Gun Tax Despite State Preemption Act

Targets and racks of long guns are seen at a gun shop on November 5, 2016, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. According to the proprietor, October's sales in his store were double that of 2015, with customers expressing anxiety about the November election. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should …

On Thursday the Washington state Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s tax on guns and ammunition despite the state’s Preemption Act.

The Preemption Act prevents any city or municipality from passing gun control regulations that exceed those at the state level. According to the Seattle Times, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that the tax is valid because it represents a tax rather than a “regulation.” Moreover, the court upheld the tax on the premise that “its primary purpose is to raise revenue for the public benefit.”

The tax places an extra $25 on every gun sold in Seattle city limits, and between two and five cents on every bullet.

The NRA, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and National Shooting Sports Foundation were all plaintiffs in the case. SAF founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb commented on the court ruling, saying, “The high court’s decision to uphold what clearly appears to us as a violation of Washington’s 34-year-old State Preemption Act is proof positive that the court places political correctness above the rule of law. Gun owners must get more involved in Supreme Court races.”

Gottlieb added:

This isn’t just a loss for the rule of law, firearms dealers and gun owners living in Seattle. It’s a slap in the face to the Washington Legislature. In 1983, state lawmakers adopted the state’s preemption act, which squarely put all firearms regulation under authority of the Legislature. It is clear from this ruling that the Legislature will have to strengthen the preemption act to not only nullify what amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax on gun owners, but to also make sure this is not allowed to happen again.

Another interesting piece of information—On August 12, 2015, Breitbart News reported that Seattle’s city council passed the tax even though Chicago had implemented one two years earlier, where it proved to be a demonstrable failure.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.


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