The total for 2017 was less than in 2016, when the tax raised about $104,000. The City Council established the tax to fund gun-violence research at Harborview Medical Center.
Seattle collected $93,000 from its gun-and-ammunition tax in 2017, down from about $104,000 collected in 2016, when the tax took effect.
Sellers paid the tax this past year on 1,929 firearms and about 1.1 million rounds of ammo, according to the Department of Finance and Administrative Services.
The last quarter of 2017 was the busiest of the year, with sellers paying the tax on 576 guns and nearly 289,000 rounds of ammo.
Sellers covered by the tax include individuals, sporting-goods stores and pawnshops. Around the time the City Council passed the tax of $25 per firearm and 2 to 5 cents per round of ammunition in 2015, there were 40 federal firearms licensees in the city, including two brick-and-mortar stores dedicated to gun sales.
Most Read Local Stories
- Coronavirus daily news updates, July 7: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Seattle City Council passes 'JumpStart' tax on high salaries paid by big businesses
- Whale reportedly hit by Washington state ferry near Mukilteo WATCH
- Driver accused of hitting Seattle protesters, killing one, held on $1.2 million bail
- Mary Kay Letourneau, teacher jailed for raping student, has died, report says
As of December, there were 32. The stores dedicated to guns have closed.
The council established the tax to fund gun-violence research at Harborview Medical Center, saying treatment of gunshot victims there costs taxpayers many millions of dollars each year.
The city waited to spend the revenue, because of a lawsuit by local gun owners and gun sellers, plus the National Rifle Association, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
While the lawsuit was active, city officials kept the tax money in a holding account. To support the Harborview program while there was no tax revenue, the council allocated money from the city’s general fund.
After a study found that gunshot survivors were 21 times more likely than people hospitalized for other reasons to return with another gunshot wound, researchers now provide some gunshot survivors with services ranging from substance-abuse and mental-health treatment to job assistance.
In August, the state Supreme Court ruled for Seattle in the lawsuit, upholding a lower-court ruling and freeing the city to start spending the tax money.
Rather than use the 2016 and 2017 revenue to pay back the general fund for money already spent on the Harborview program, Mayor Jenny Durkan wants to use it to sustain the program going forward and plans to present the council with a proposal to do that, spokeswoman Kamaria Hightower said.
“Research shows that those who survive gunshots are at a heightened risk of becoming a victim again, and the program is designed to end this cycle of violence,” Hightower said in a statement.
“Over 100 gunshot-wound victims have been enrolled so far, and the program will enroll around 300 patients in total through the end of 2018.”
The tax has raised far less than expected. When it was adopted in 2015, then-Councimember Tim Burgess said the city projected the tax would raise $300,000 to $500,000 a year.
The city initially withheld information on how much the tax had raised in 2016, citing concerns about taxpayer privacy.