Skip to main content

NSSF: Seattle Gun Tax Falls Short of Promises

Perspective by National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF: Seattle Gun Tax Falls Short of Promises



The following is a perspective by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Seattle’s so-called “gun violence tax” continues to fall far short of the promised returns. Recent figures show that while there was a slight bump in taxes collected, the only thing the tax succeeded in was driving constitutionally-protected gun businesses from the city limits.

The tax is in its fourth year and has yet to live up to expectations. In 2015, Seattle’s city council approved a $25 tax on every gun and 5 cents on each round of ammunition sold. The architects of the plan promised it would bring in $500,000 annually that would be used toward gun violence research at the city’s Harborview Medical Center.

Numbers Don’t Lie


It’s yet to even come close to that goal. Last year, the city collected $85,352, which is only $7,800 more than the $77,518 collected in 2018, according to a report from the Second Amendment Foundation. NSSF, along with SAF and NRA challenged the tax on state preemption grounds, but courts in Washington state upheld it. The three organizations knew the tax was actually a form of gun control, which can only be administered by the state and not municipalities. It also punishes law-abiding citizens for the criminal activities of others. NSSF predicted the tax would fail. Four years running, that’s held true.


The first that year tax figures were available was 2016, which saw just $103,766 collected. The next year, figures fell to $93,220 and 2018 saw them at just $77,518. This year’s collections report of $85,352 is a slight rise, but if the back-of-the-napkin math is correct, it is still short by $414,648 of what Seattle city council gun control politicians promised.

Net Effect

Here’s what the tax really did. It drove profitable gun businesses out of the city limits. Outdoor Emporium moved out of Seattle after the owner saw a loss of $2 million in revenue, a 32 percent decline in customer traffic and was forced to lay off three employees. Precise Shooter, another business that was located in Seattle, shuttered their store and opened up in nearby Lynnwood.

Bad ideas aren’t confined to Seattle. Nearby Tacoma picked it up for themselves too. Aero Precision, a firearm parts producer that employs 400 in Tacoma, spoke out against the regressive tax, but city officials pushed it through. The tax in that city was set to take effect in July, but a panel required to study Seattle’s tax wasn’t able to be formed due to the coronavirus restrictions. That plan was put on the shelf and with protests turning violent, it’s not looking like city officials there will be able to get it moving soon.


Bottom Line

The bottom line is no one who designed or approved this plan actually believed it would work. They knew a half-million dollars in tax revenue was a political pipe dream. The real goal was to send the message – and political punishment – to constitutionally-protected businesses that their commerce wasn’t welcome. They won’t admit they knew all along it wouldn’t raise anything close to their target tax goal. They won’t admit that Seattle has a crime problem, witnessed during the riots when a private security contractor rushed in with his own handgun to seize a stolen service rifle from a rioter that stole it from a burning police vehicle. They knew their promised research of so-called “gun violence” prevention was as sketchy as their plan to tax gun stores out of the city. They also knew that what they wanted weren’t  Real Solutions®. They wanted gun control and political posturing.

National Shooting Sports Foundation aims to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From tumblers to bottles to flasks (and even clever bottle openers), we've rounded up some of the best bar gear for the outdoors.Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup The Deck

Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup

Chelsie Walters and Jessyca Sortillon - August 31, 2020

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them.10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties are accompanied by melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and Thousand Island dressing and then pressed in between two toasted and golden brown pieces of rye bread.Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe Wild Game

Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe

Kristy Crabtree - October 27, 2020

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties...

See More Trending Articles

More Conservation & Politics

The Mich. man said he was putting animal out of its misery. Also: Rash of Ore. poachings reported.Game Warden Stories: 'Disturbing' Snapchat Video Shows Deer Killed with Hammer Conservation & Politics

Game Warden Stories: 'Disturbing' Snapchat Video Shows Deer Killed with Hammer

Game & Fish Staff - November 13, 2020

The Mich. man said he was putting animal out of its misery. Also: Rash of Ore. poachings...

Featured by National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF Profile: Q&A With U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) Conservation & Politics

NSSF Profile: Q&A With U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY)

National Shooting Sports Foundation - November 25, 2020

Featured by National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The firearm industry wants to have a brave conversation. It's not comfortable, but it's a life-saving discussion.Mental Health and Firearm Ownership Conservation & Politics

Mental Health and Firearm Ownership

Joe Bartozzi - October 07, 2020

The firearm industry wants to have a brave conversation. It's not comfortable, but it's a...

See More Conservation & Politics

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now