Seattle city officials are within their rights to impose a small tax on guns and ammunition to fund gun violence research and prevention.
IN the absence of federal action to limit firearms-related violence, Seattle is one of a few local governments looking at creative solutions to do so.
But its latest effort to curb a public-health crisis that costs lives and money is threatened by a gun-rights coalition that includes the National Rifle Association.
On Friday, a King County Superior Court judge will consider that group’s request for an injunction against the city’s gun-and-ammunition sales tax, which is set to take effect in January. The judge ought to see that this revenue serves a crucial purpose and does not stop gun enthusiasts from legally obtaining firearms.
The revenue collected on sales of guns and ammunition would fund research through the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, in addition to prevention and education programs.
A groundbreaking 2014 study funded by the city showed that patients admitted to hospitals statewide for gunshot wounds are 30 times more likely to return with another firearm injury compared to people hospitalized for other reasons.
Absurdly, the NRA has fought since 1996 to ban federal funding for gun-violence research — as if arming ourselves with factual information is a bad thing.
The court should reject the arguments of parties asking for the injunction, including gun sellers, the NRA, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
A $25 tax on each firearm sold within the city is reasonable, as is a 2-cent- or 5-cent-per-round tax for various types of ammunition.”
Washington’s law prohibits the regulation of firearms by local governments, but Seattle is within its authority to impose fees to pay for a public-health crisis caused by gun violence.
A $25 tax on each firearm sold within the city is reasonable, as is a 2-cent- or 5-cent-per-round tax for various types of ammunition.
The city is so serious about tackling this problem, it plans to pay for research and prevention even if the court sides with the gun-rights coalition. But the city shouldn’t have to.
If Seattle gets this right, other cities should also pitch in to solve this public-health crisis.