Gun store changes location in wake of Seattle ‘gun violence tax’
After a December 22, 2015 ruling from the King County Superior Court upheld the city tax on firearms and ammunition, only the second of its kind in the nation, Seattle began implementation of the “gun violence tax” on January 1. On that same day, one of the only gun sellers in town refused to sell guns and ammo any longer.
"It would make us unprofitable," owner of Precise Shooter, Segey Solyanik, told MyNorthwest.com. "I calculated it by retroactively applying the tax to our existing sales–I'm a software developer, so I can do that–and we would be operating at a loss for the entire store."
Precise Shooter, according to its Facebook page, will be up and running in its new location of Lynnwood, some 16 miles from Seattle, by mid-February. In the meantime, Solyanik is offering other products and services untouched by the new tax.
"We are all disappointed. We feel that, basically, a crockpot politician was trying to buttress his 'progressive' credentials and we got run over,” Solyanik continued, referring to Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess.
Burgess has called the gun violence tax a "legitimate and appropriate way to raise revenue for gun safety research and prevention programs," but Solyanik sees that as political bluster.
“Burgess doesn't expect any money from this. In fact, there will be a net loss for this city. This location brings in roughly $50,000 in sales tax revenue, so that is all going to be gone next year. And there is not going to be any revenue from the [gun] tax," Solyanik said.
A notice of appeal of the King County Superior Court ruling was filed Monday by the Second Amendment Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Part of their case relies on interpretation of Washington state law prohibiting localities from legislating on firearms.
“It is unconscionable for Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council to codify what amounts to social bigotry against firearms retailers and their customers. State law prevents cities from passing laws that govern firearms regulation, including sales,” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement Monday.
The sense of discrimination against gun owners as a class of people seemed to be felt by Solyanik as well.
"We don't say that an average person is responsible for the violence fueled by alcohol, but for some reason people feel that gun owners should be held to a different standard than themselves," Solyanik told MyNorthwest.com.
"I think people are afraid of things they don't know and understand and vilify people they don't know and understand,” Solyanik continued, adding, “It's just collective punishment for all of us."