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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.

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    • Indeed. Remember that these suits cost money, and they-re doing it on our behalf. So choose and org, and donate some money. If you have cash for bullets and guns you have some for the folks defending your right to bullets and guns.

      Just sayin’.

    • Why would they quit? Do you think they’ll be spending their own money on legal fees? Or do you think this one’s on the taxpayers?

    • This is typical behavior of the people who call themselves government They do whatever unconstitutional evil they want, and if anyone doesn’t like it they have to spend a fortune to fight it. And if the government loses, no-one is held accountable and not a single wrist is slapped.

      And if financial reparations are awarded, they don’t have to pay it (“taxpayers” do).

  1. Glad to see something about this on here. Was wondering when or if it would appear as an article. When one of the Seattle City Council Members was asked about putting gun dealers in Seattle out of business he said he “did not care” about that. Pretty much proves it is not about the revenue but about restricting the rights of Seattle residents to protect themselves. Anyone with a car and the money can drive outside of Seattle and get a gun and the ammunition that they need and avoid the tax. Glad to see that NRA and others are going ahead with a lawsuit to go after these out of control liberal gun grabbers.

    • It is actually worse than that. They know that gun dealers will have no choice but to either go out of business or relocate because no consumer will pay this tax, since there are plenty of stores right outside Seattle.

      The city council and that socialist mayor Ed Murray know this. They want the gun dealers out, even it means that they lose thousands of dollars in the oppressive 9.5% sales tax that already exists in Seattle. So they would rather lose existing revenue than have those evil gun dealers operating a lawful business within their city limits. And they have openly stated this because it makes the libtards and grandmas against guns orgasm when they hear that.

      • Yep, news flash; politicians trying to further their careers at taxpayers expense all the way around.

        Even when they lose, these arrogant liberal polls will have benefited from the notoriety of their actions in that mindlessly liberal enclave, the City of Seattle.

  2. It seems as if there’re several cities that are jockeying for the position of ‘ King of or Queen of Progressives ‘ , and in an all out race to the bottom of the freedom ladder and top of the sucks to be you totem pole . It is a sparkling example of where certain groups would like the entirety of the country to be . I for one do not believe in suing to achieve an outcome but I will continue to support the people who do it .
    God bless America , please , in spite of our failings , we need your blessing now more than ever .

    • The problem is…this will go to the Wa State Supreme Court. In other words MY tax dollars will be used to defeat something i have ZERO ability to even vote on. I dont live in Seattle or even King County yet this will be paid for by me. So i cant vote these idiots out of office but i sure do get to pay for them

      • >> The problem is…this will go to the Wa State Supreme Court.

        Even if so, won’t the City of Seattle still be on hook for any legal fees, since they’re the party named in the lawsuit?

    • Unfortunately, the majority of the Seattle constituency seems quite on board with their counsel’s “for the greater good” agenda.

  3. Seattle city council will lose this lawsuit, just like they lost when they tried to ban lawful guns from public parks. Good for the NRA, NSSF, and SAF going to bat together on this.

  4. I’m ecstatic to hear this, but in the broader sense we really need to strategically plan on the next steps after this battle is won. Like getting preemption laws implemented everywhere and rolling back the extra-oppressive states like NY, CT and MA, who all deserve the same treatment as DC got from the Heller, etc. decisions. It has gotten so bad that after 5 years I am ready to move back to a free state again. If I can’t make any headway talking sense into my state senators or the governor, that is. I’m starting with the “prioritizing public need” approach that demonstrates that there are much bigger fish to fry than to pick on the Second Amendment – like medical malpractice, pharmaceutical opioid manufacturers and of course the enforcement of current laws. Most of all, we need to rollback the registration & permission system of purchasing any firearm and let the federal system deal with it. Last week NPR reported that the Boston gun buyback program had only seen one firearm traded in for a $200 gift card, and the police department used the excuse that they simply had not been promoting it during the past year. Abject failure of every gun control law should deserve some simple oversight process that allows the public to determine whether laws should remain on the books.

    How about expiration dates for laws that don’t achieve the desired results? Damn, I sure do have my moments!

    • Like getting preemption laws implemented everywhere and rolling back the extra-oppressive states like NY, CT and MA

      I’m thankful that MA does not have preemption, because that would only make things worse.

      • Please enlighten me how that would be bad; I need to know the big picture before I get my opportunity to present my senators with some righteous facts! BTW, have you read Governor Baker’s Executive Order #562 – to reduce regulatory burden? I see it as a chance to levels MA gun control laws to align with federal laws, which means rolling back registration, assault weapon and hi-cap magazine bans and of course permission to buy requirements.

    • “Last week NPR reported that the Boston gun buyback program had only seen one firearm traded in for a $200 gift card, and the police department used the excuse that they simply had not been promoting it during the past year.”

      And how much did this cost the police (read: taxpayers) to run this farce?

    • it never ceases to amaze me, every time i see someone list opressive states, California is never listed as well !
      what gives ?!

      • I never wanted to spout off a full list, plus as I’m a prisoner of MA that’s what’s on my mind. Besides, I wrote off CA a long time ago.

      • Cali’s a state? I’m pretty sure its Northern Mexico. Can’t really be a sovereign state when illegals outnumber you.

        • “Cali’s a state? I’m pretty sure its Northern Mexico.”

          Just re-name Cali ‘Greater Berkley’ and be done with it.

    • Agreed. They’re usually too busy arguing over which represents whom, individuals vs industry..blah..just get together and squash this..then get aggressive and go for more

  5. I might buy a new gun in Cook co,IL if not for the 25buck slush fund tax,the 9.75% tax( and the insane prices of gun shops around here)…I understand the problem. Left-wing azzwholes-whatayougonna’ do?

  6. Will the NRA take the next step and fight for the repeal the Pittman Robinson 11% Excise Tax on guns and ammo?

    Oh that’s right, the NRA pushed to enact the Pittman Robinson tax and make sure gun owners have to pay it today.

    The NRA …. for taxes on guns and ammo before they were against taxes on guns and ammo.

    • It’s Pittman–Robertson, not Pittman Robinson. If you’re going to complain about it, you might want to get the name right. It’s been around since 1937 and most hunters support it because it builds habitat and adds places to hunt and shoot, and it has helped to rescue popular game species from extinction. The Seattle tax does nothing except punish gun stores.

      Wise up.

      • Ralph:

        What is the difference between an 10%/11% Excise tax on ammo and guns that you and the NRA support versus Seattle’s tax.

        The NRA Tax adds $55 to the cost of a handgun (assumes $500/handgun) and adds $0.02/round of ammo.

        Seattle is charging only $25 per gun and $0.02/round.

        I don’t see a difference between them.

  7. As a frequent sellout, it’s unusual for the NSSF to get in the fight. It’s usually rolling over, just like the manufacturers that it represents. But not this time.

  8. Hats off for all coming together. I’m a member of all and plan to keep it as such. Many in other States don’t realize how far left and progressive Seattle and vicinity are, it is ugly. They could care less about the American Constitution, believe they are smarter and know best. Fighting in court is fine, they are spending someone elses money. Their position is corrupt and oppressive. They have hatred toward lawful good citizens, nice. Seattle has crazy stuff going on; rainbow crosswalks, a joke tunnel project, restrictions on autos in favor of bikes when Seattle is very difficult to get around in on a bicycle, taking of parking on streets which injures small business’. Seattle proper kinda sucks if you are not a progressive or socialist/communist.

    • i prefer the eastside to the westside all day every day myself. But with its growth exploding, i fear for the future of bellevue where i grew up 🙁
      Would move to eastern WA, but ironically work is in seattle for me…

    • let see
      Portland is Seattle’ s sister city, sister wife, er registered domestic partner,
      I loose track, they are both screwed up for all the same noted crap.

  9. I think the fact that the Sandy Hookers have been attacking NSSF directly (picketing their Newtown, CT headquarters, for instance) has finally made them realize that nobody is immune from the anti-gun virus.

  10. “That’s something CNN would be screaming bloody murder over if the same tax was levied against, say, abortions.”

    If you had said newspapers that would have been credible, but once again TTAG has to inject a topic that does absolutely nothing other than polarize their audience.

    • I think you need a fainting couch. The rest of us are capable of handling it without getting dizzy. It’s only polarizing if you support killing babies.

  11. Make no mistake this will go to the Supreme Courts of Washington. Those who wonder why need look no further than Mayor Murray’s legislation as a former State Senator. Murray introduced legislation that would effectively permit the local Sheriff to come to your home and inspect the “safe storage” of your firearms. When the Senator was challenged on this he claimed he did not know this small detail was part of his legislation, twice. This is his end run around getting that legislation passed. All politics is local, and Seattle speaks for the entire State of Washington (sarc).
    My point is made in the following article, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Seattle mayor offers plan to help followers of Sharia law buy houses.

    • “One suggestion would help followers of Sharia law buy houses. That’s virtually impossible now because Sharia law prohibits payment of interest on loans.”

      The mayor needs to get a clue.

      Charging interest is prohibited in Sharia law, so lenders structure loans with that in mind.

      What they do is charge ‘fees’ instead, neatly side-stepping that requirement.

      During the buildup to Gulf War 1 Saudi officials frequently met with US military brass to hash out the logistics of Desert Shield – Desert Storm troop influx.

      The Saudis brought up the issue of service women driving, saying it would not be permitted. The US brass responded service women would indeed be driving.

      The compromise was that in uniform, service women would drive, out of uniform they would not.

      While they were in uniform they were not considered women, they were US soldiers, and US soldiers would be driving.

      The Arab mind seems to have a remarkable degree of flexibility when it comes to rules.

      That tale came from Tom Clancy’s ‘Every Man a Tiger’, the biography of General Chuck Horner. (CENTAF during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield).

      It’s a great read, the majority of it is the complex logistics of setting up for Gulf War 1.

  12. Good.

    Glad to see Outdoor Emporium joining in the fight.

    That’s where I’ve bought most of my guns. They’re good folks.

  13. Star Tribune v. Commissioner.

    The US Supreme Court ruled that a tax on the material objects involved in a constitutionally protected right is unconstitutional. In the Star Tribune case it was a tax on ink for newspapers.

  14. @nick – one of the unfortunate consequences of a democracy – we have to pay to defend our rights no matter where they are attacked. And don’t forget, while you may not be able to vote in Seattle, you can actively support efforts to “vote them out”.

  15. Damn! When will this stop. Heck, next will want to raise taxes on tobacco and liquor; and possibly even think about putting a stroke tax on conscienting adult exercise interactions.

  16. I can’t think of a gun shop left in Seattle. They all moved to the suburbs. Maybe a couple of pawn shops. It is just a bunch of grandstanding by the city council that is always looking for publicity on a nationwide level instead of doing their job filling pot holes.

  17. “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.”

    OK, call them out on this every single time.

    It’s of a piece with “President Obama coming for your guns” non-argument. Well, he didn’t kick down doors, but did use every means he has – that famous pen and phone among them – to make it more expensive and inconvenient to own a gun. Thing is, you don’t get to do that for just no reason. Legislatures get to do things for nearly any reason, with exceptions. The more burden you put on people, the more selective the burden, the more encoded in existing law or custom, the more justification they need to “erode” a particular autonomy.

    The “coming for your guns” thing has two prongs. First, there’s a lot of ways to “come for” and this administration, like the lawyers they are, has done a fine job of finding a way to do what they want to. “By any means necessary.” to borrow a phrase.

    Yes, that’s provocative. No, the current President hasn’t used exactly that phrase. But, yes, look at what they are doing. A preference gets shot down in the congress, and it’s on to executive orders, using enforcement discretion, changing the standard for ‘advise and consent’ and so on. Agree with the policies or not, one lesson about this administration is that they’ll use any means they can to advance their agenda. Having advocated against citizens owning guns, it’s only to be expected that they’d go after that any way they can – kicking in doors if they can, but if not, maybe slow walking inconvenient prosecutions, advocating for UN treaties in line with what they want, while simultaneously supporting a theory of US law subsidiary to “international law” embodied in UN pronouncements.

    And no, me and my tinfoil hat are not in the “secret illuminatus / one world government is coming” category. I regard this administration’s appeal to broader, external authorities like the UN as an argument of convenience. Lawyers do that. Start with the position. Then find the argument that will win. I happen to think that an executive job is not lawyerly advocacy, but that’s another digression.

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