Seattle candidates say gun tax isn't enough. For gun dealers, it's enough to move
Seattle's gun tax needs to be higher, according to City Council candidates Jon Grant and Teresa Mosqueda.
Grant announced today that if elected he would propose doubling the tax to $50 per firearm.
In the first year of the gun tax, 2016, it raised much less than the city predicted it would. That meant less revenue in the pool to fund gun violence research. It’s one reason Grant wants the tax raised.
Grant: "The city has already spent $275,000 to fund this research, of tax payer dollars. So I think the gun industry has a responsibility to share in the cost of that research given their direct role in the perpetuation of gun violence."
Mosqueda says she's happy to look at doubling the tax, in large part because the federal government, for years, has declined to fund research on gun violence. She says she would work with city and state officials to get at the root cause of gun violence.
Mosqueda: "We need to look at how we get the revenue in the door to get the data that we've been prevented from getting. We have a lack of information about where the actual gun violence is occurring within our community. We have to make our own maps."
As the candidates weigh in on firearms, the largest gun dealer in Seattle is considering moving.
Staff at Outdoor Emporium say sales have been down, especially on guns and ammunition, and the owners are considering taking business to another city where there's no tax on firearms.
That could mean very low gun tax revenue for the city of Seattle. About 80 percent of the revenue in 2016 came from Outdoor Emporium.
Employees say if the tax doubles it’s all but certain Outdoor Emporium will take firearm sales elsewhere.