BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation promised an immediate appeal in its challenge to the City of Seattle’s special tax on firearms and ammunition sales following a judge’s ruling that the tax is legal, despite what appears to be a clear conflict with Washington’s 32-year-old preemption statute.
SAF was joined in the lawsuit by the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, two local gun stores and two private citizens. They are fighting the city’s so-called “gun violence tax” of $25 per firearm and five cents per cartridge, which their attorneys contend is a violation of state law that puts sole authority over firearm regulation in the hands of the State Legislature.
“We are disappointed and strongly disagree with Judge Palmer Robinson’s ruling, and we are confident that the State Court of Appeals will ultimately concur with our position,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “SAF and NRA are very familiar with the state preemption statute because we teamed up once before against Seattle and beat the city soundly four years ago.
SAF and its partners filed suit this past summer after the city hastily adopted the gun tax. Under specific language in the state’s preemption statute, all firearms regulation – including “registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components” – falls entirely under the legislature’s authority. “Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality,” the statute says.
“This tax is a violation not only of state preemption but also the state tax laws,” he added. “It is unconscionable for Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council to codify what amounts to social bigotry against firearms retailers and their customers, and we are going to fight this vigorously in defense of a state preemption law that has served Washington citizens well for more than three decades.”