State high court: Seattle can continue taxing gun sales | KUOW News and Information

State high court: Seattle can continue taxing gun sales

Aug 10, 2017

Washington's Supreme Court has ruled that Seattle's gun tax is constitutionally valid and can continue.

Gun rights advocates have argued Seattle's firearms tax is effectively a regulation on gun sales. They called the tax unconstitutional due to a Washington law that gives the state, not a city, the authority to regulate firearms.

In their 8-to-1 decision Thursday, the state Supreme Court disagreed and ruled that Seattle's tax is simply a tax – not a regulation.

The plaintiffs in the case say the ruling is disappointing, and they’re turning their frustration to the Supreme Court justices.

Supporters of gun rights say the ruling is an example of why Supreme Court elections are so important. Dave Workman is communications director for the Second Amendment Foundation, a plaintiff in the case.

Workman: "The state Supreme Court, they're the final arbiter of state law, and in this case I think it might be a wakeup call to Washington state gun owners to pay more attention to that."

The Seattle city council started enforcing the gun tax in 2016. Dealers are taxed $25 per gun sale, and $.02 to $.05 for ammunition.

Workman says it has already caused some gun stores to relocate out of Seattle. He says he's concerned other cities might make similar moves, now that the Supreme Court upheld Seattle's law.