BELLEVUE, WA – Renewed interest by Seattle news outlets in the revenues generated by the City of Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” demonstrates that the media is wondering why the city continues to withhold that information, especially considering an ongoing lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and its publication, TheGunMag.com.
“Back in 2015, when the city adopted this gun tax, there were predictions that it would generate between $300,000 and $500,000 in revenue,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb recalled. “Here we are, more than a year after the tax took effect, and the city still hasn’t released any information. The public has a right to know whether this was an accurate forecast, or just a pie-in-the-sky sales pitch to push this tax into law.
“Other news agencies have sought this information,” he added, “and we invite and challenge the media to join with us in the fight to protect the First Amendment and the people’s right to know because this is clearly a First Amendment issue. The city has argued that releasing the tax revenue information would jeopardize the privacy of the few businesses that have paid the tax, but that argument seems pretty thin. It’s becoming our strong suspicion that the city doesn’t want to release the revenue figure because it doesn’t come close to what they predicted.”
TheGunMag.com senior editor Dave Workman, who is a plaintiff in the case, repeated what has been the publication’s position since the outset: “We have never been interested in disclosing who paid what amount. All we want is an aggregate figure, and the longer the city holds out, the more people will wonder if they’re trying to conceal something.”
A separate lawsuit challenging the tax was filed in late 2015 by SAF, the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, plus two retail gun dealers. One of those retailers has moved his business outside the city, and the lawsuit asserts this is not a sales tax but a gun control measure that violates Washington State’s preemption statute.
“The City of Seattle is stonewalling us,” Gottlieb stated. “It’s time for them to come clean.”