Seattle Gun Tax Another Gun Control Failure

Maybe Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess thought of the adage that when you tax something you get less of it when in 2015 he sought to fight gun crime by introducing a bill placing a $25 tax on every gun sold and a 5-cent tax on every bullet sold. There is another adage he forgot, and a true one -- more guns mean less crime.

Like every prior effort at gun control, Seattle’s ordinance only served to keep guns out of the hands of potential victims, not criminals who don’t care about legally purchasing a firearm, paying a tax, or submitting to background checks. The result has been more homicides not fewer. It is criminals, not guns, that commit crimes. As Fox News Politics reports:

“How much data do you need?” asked Dave Workman, senior editor of and member of the Second Amendment Foundation. “The data says the law has failed to prevent what they promised it would prevent.”

Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess introduced the tax in 2015. It puts a $25 tax on every firearm sold in the city and up to 5 cents per round of ammunition. The measure easily passed and took effect January 1, 2016. Comparing the first five months of 2017 with the same period before the gun tax went into effect, reports of shots fired are up 13 percent, the number of people injured in shootings climbed 37 percent and gun deaths doubled, according to crime statistics from the Seattle Police Department…

“All these gun control laws affect the wrong people,” Workman said. “The gang bangers don’t go in and buy ammunition at retail, at least not around here. It certainly hasn’t stopped them from getting their hands on firearms.”

Indeed, they do not. The only people who follow the law are the victims of criminal violence. Liberals forget that when criminals decide to kill, they don’t factor into their decision whether the cost of the gun and ammunition. And when they decide to break the law against murder, a Seattle ordinance neither disarms nor deters them.

Still, liberals continue to advance the notion that taxes and regulations will stop criminals from killing. This argument was advance by Eleanor Clift at the Daily Beast. who endorsed the Seattle tax in a piece entitled “Want Fewer Murders? Tax Guns and Ammo.”

The Seattle gun tax was supposed to raise money to study the root causes of gun violence, as if we needed a study to find the root cause of crime. The root cause of crime is evil in the world, and ever since Cain slew Abel with a rock, evil has been the motivating factor in murders. Gun-control zealots see gun and ammo taxes as a way around the Second Amendment and a way to disarm the law-abiding.

The Second Amendment, it has been said, was written to protect the other nine in the Bill of Rights, and was an acknowledging of the threat from tyrants and other domestic enemies such as the criminals and the crazies that would otherwise roam unchallenged among us. As Thomas Jefferson said in a letter to James Madison, dated December 20, 1787:

"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."

In addition to the threat posed by tyrannical governments, Thomas Jefferson was among the first to embrace the concept that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun:

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

That is why we have a Second Amendment. Guns save lives, and if we need another example of the fact that that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, look at the attempted mas murder of a GOP congressman at an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field. Would a gun and ammo tax have deterred this killer?

The politicians of Seattle are hypocrites who enjoy the protection of armed security as they seek to deter those they allegedly serve the same right to self-defense. They are celebrated by celebrities who live in gated communities and travel nowhere without armed protection.

Seattle apparently forgot to learn the lessons of America’s murder capital, where a “gun violence tax” was passed to offset the rising cost of gun violence. Cook County also imposed a $25 tax for each firearm legally purchased by a law-abiding citizen. It was also a miserable gun-control failure that failed to reduce crime and only served to disarm potential victims: As Breitbart News reported in August 2015 as Seattle was enacting its gun and ammo tax:

On October 10, 2012, Breitbart News reported that Cook County Officials were pushing a gun and ammo “violence tax” to offset the cost of gun violence in Chicago. The tax was implemented in 2013, homicides rose in 2014, and they are higher now than they were a year ago at this point…

…Chicago’s “violence tax” went into effect in April 2013. Months later, CBS Chicago reported number of homicides in Chicago for 2013 came in at 415. People cheered! The tax is working! Violence has abated!

Then came 2014, the first full calendar year after the implementation of the tax, and the Chicago Tribune reported 434 deaths–a 19 death increase. Then came the first six months of 2015, and Chicago’s ABC 7 reported that “murders and shooting are up.” For example, “in June of 2015, there were 13 more homicides in Chicago than June of 2014.” In all, USA Today reported the homicide rate in Chicago jumped “19 percent” and “shooting incidents” rose “21 percent” in the first six months of 2015.

And it has continued upward ever since. Crime and murder plagued Chicago, another city where traditionally only politicians have been allowed to have guns to protect themselves. As Investor’s Business Daily once editorialized:

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote in 2008 that in Chicago only two classes of people can possess firearms: "The criminals and the politicians."

City politicians, he noted, used their influence to "become deputized peace officers so they can carry" or "often go around surrounded by armed bodyguards on the city payroll."

Seattle’s city fathers need to realize that gun-free zones are free-fire zones for predators. The way to reduce crime is to arm potential victims and give them the right to shoot back. What we need is goon control, not gun control. Praise the Lord and don’t tax the ammunition.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

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