Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s “gun violence tax” will be in King County Superior Court Dec. 18 asking the judge for a summary judgment in the case, on the grounds that the tax violates Washington State’s 32-year-old preemption law, according to a report today from MyNorthwest.com and KIRO radio.
One of the plaintiffs, Sergey Solyanik, owner of Precise Shooter, posted a message on Facebook, and has also done a blog about the case. The lawsuit marks the first time that the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation have teamed up in court. Previously, SAF and NRA have joined forces on lawsuits against Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans, but this is a first for NSSF.
Solyanik not only posted his blog, he also provided links to the court motion and documents supporting the case. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb referred to these documents in a press release.
“Our motion shows that members of the city council brainstormed with members of local gun control groups to try to skirt the preemption law,” Gottlieb stated. “This so-called ‘gun violence tax’ clearly seeks to limit access to firearms and ammunition by imposing what amounts to a regulatory fee on the sale of all firearms and ammunition within City limits. The city can’t do that, and we’re confident the court will tell them so.”
The case was covered earlier in the year by the Seattle Times, which explained how the measure would impact gun dealers. Scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, the tax is supposed to raise funds to finance gun control “research” and gun violence intervention projects. But critics say law-abiding gun owners should not be forced to pay for gun control projects, and they also scoff at the estimated annual revenue of $300,000 to $500,000, suggesting this is a ridiculous expectation.
For starters, opponents of the gun tax say people buying guns and ammunition will simply take their business out of the city. Earlier, Solyanik intimated he may move his gun shop outside the city, a business loss that does not appear to concern members of the city council who unanimously passed the tax, which was quickly signed by anti-gun Mayor Ed Murray.
SAF, NRA and their fellow plaintiffs had asked for a hearing before the tax is supposed to take effect, hoping that it is stopped before it gets started. If the city loses it will almost certainly appeal, which may lead to something of a replay of the earlier case it lost due to preemption.
Former Mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn tried to institute a gun ban in city park facilities, as an administrative rule rather than a city ordinance. The court was quick to say this violated the state preemption statute, and an appeals court later unanimously upheld that judge’s decision.
A similar tax was imposed in Cook County, Illinois more than two years ago. In the aftermath, Chicago homicides have increased.
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