BELLEVUE, WA – Plaintiffs challenging a so-called “gun violence tax” recently passed by the Seattle City Council have today filed a motion for summary judgment in their lawsuit, citing Washington State’s long-standing preemption statute which “fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state.” The motion was filed in King County Superior Court.
Attorneys Steven Fogg and David Edwards, with Corr Cronin Michelson, Baumgardner Fogg & Moore LLP filed the motion for the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and their co-plaintiffs. They allege that the city “is well aware of this restriction on its legislative power, in part because its most recent attempt to regulate firearms was emphatically struck down by the Court of Appeals.”
That case was Chan v. City of Seattle, brought by SAF, NRA and several other plaintiffs. Fogg also argued that case. It derailed an attempt by the city under former Mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn to ban guns in city park facilities. But Washington State’s preemption statute, passed 32 years ago and used as a model by other states to adopt similar legislation, stopped that effort in its tracks.
“Seattle is trying to be too clever by half,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Our motion shows that members of the city council brainstormed with members of local gun control groups to try to skirt the preemption law. This so-called ‘gun violence tax’ clearly seeks to limit access to firearms and ammunition by imposing what amounts to a regulatory fee on the sale of all firearms and ammunition within City limits. The city can’t do that, and we’re confident the court will tell them so.
“The city can’t even pass this off as a B&O tax, because it’s a flat fee, not a percentage of sales,” he continued. “In the final analysis, this is an attempt to skate around, and thus erode, our state’s model preemption law. That cannot be allowed to stand. The City of Seattle is not an entity unto itself, but still part of Washington State, and therefore the city has to abide by the same laws we all follow.”