The City of Seattle recently enacted a tax on all firearms and ammunition. There was no point to this tax other than to inconvenience lawful gun owners by making them pay more money to enjoy a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms (and driving lawful retail businesses from the city. That’s something CNN would be screaming bloody murder over if the same tax was levied against, say, abortions. Needless to say the pols of Seattle saw no problem with arbitrarily and capriciously punishing gun owners for their supposedly evil wicked hobby, but the NRA, the SAF, and the NSSF have teamed up to show them the error of their ways. A lawsuit filed today aims to strike down this blatant punishment of law abiding citizens by those who think their practices are socially unacceptable, and would seem to have a damned good chance of success . . .
From the press release:
The nation’s three leading firearms organizations joined forces today to sue the City of Seattle over adoption of a retail sales tax on guns and ammunition in what they allege is a clear violation of Washington State’s 33-year-old state preemption law that does not allow cities, counties or political subdivisions to enact laws relating to firearms not authorized by state law.
The Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, joined by two of the city’s firearms retailers – Outdoor Emporium and Precise Shooter LLC – and two private citizens, filed their lawsuit in King County Superior Court. Named as defendants are Mayor Ed Murray, the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, and that department’s director, Glen Lee.
“We’ve been down this path before with Seattle when we sued them and won, knocking out their attempt to ban guns in city park facilities,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “The city does not seem to understand that no matter how they wrap this package, it’s still a gun control law and it violates Washington’s long-standing preemption statute.”
“Once again, anti-gun activists in Seattle have chosen to violate the Washington State Constitution and trample upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “They tried to enact similar regulations back in 2009 and lost. It’s a shame to see such a waste of public resources on issues the courts have already ruled to be unconstitutional.”
“NSSF has no alternative but to be an active party in this lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s attempt to interfere in the lawful commerce in firearms and ammunition on the grounds that it violates Washington State’s preemption statute that blocks cities from regulating the sale of firearms on their own.” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Seattle ordinance is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business.”
This legal action is an historic first, marking the first time that SAF, NRA and NSSF have collaborated on a lawsuit. SAF and NRA have joined forces previously in lawsuits against New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, the latter overturning an attempt by then-Mayor Greg Nickels and his successor, Mike McGinn, to prohibit legally-carried firearms in city park facilities. However, this is the first time NSSF has been on board.
“No municipality can be permitted to set itself apart as a city-state, in defiance of existing law, especially for the purpose of financially penalizing law-abiding gun owners for problems they did not create and crimes they didn’t commit,” he added. “Just as we did in 2009, we cautioned the city against adopting this tax and our concerns were ignored for the sake of political grandstanding. The law is very clear. Cities in Washington cannot set up their own gun laws, and we expect the courts to agree.”
You can read the full complaint here.
What’s your bet that if some city in the conservative south started putting an onerous tax on abortions that these same people would be up in arms (metaphorically speaking) about the blatant trampling of constitutional rights? But because it’s something they deem as repulsive they don’t care — the ends justify the means. To heck with the laws, we’ll do whatever we want to get these evil gun owners out of our midst!
Go get ’em, boys.