Court upholds Seattle’s tax on guns, ammo

In an 8-1 ruling handed down Thursday, the state’s high court swatted away a challenge from gun rights groups and retailers to Seattle’s controversial “gun violence tax.”

The panel held that large cities such as Seattle under state law can establish and collect local taxes and that, contrary to the lawsuit claims, the $25 fee on guns and up to 5-cents per round of ammunition, does not violate Washington’s preemption law.

“While courts should be dubious of regulations masquerading as taxes (and vice versa), in this case [plaintiffs] offer no convincing evidence that the Ordinance has a regulatory purpose or intent,” said Justice Debra Stephens for the majority. “It is a tax.”

The suit, brought by the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation in 2015, argued the ordinance was a poll tax on the right to bear arms and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business. As such, they held it violated Washington’s 1983 preemption law barring cities from establishing regulations stronger than the state’s when it came to public firearm policy.

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  • jeff

    They are trying to make ammunition too expensive to own. Smart move on the anti-gunners part. Hope this goes to the Supremes.

  • Thomas Emeka Schaefer

    Why am I not surprised, especially since Bloom-ing(Idiot)-berg paid off and bribed everyone whose on
    the take among the local brain-washed “Progressive” Liberals and so called “Socialistic Democrats”.
    A different outcome would surely have been a surprise.

  • marten

    Just as with the $15.00 minimum wage, Seattle will lose businesses as store front gun shops move out of the city to friendlier locations or people purchase ammunition through the internet.

    • mousekiller

      I go across the street to my local pawn- gun shop and buy 22 ammo for just about 1/2 the cost of ammo such a Remington. Federal and its made i n Mexico and i have never had a jam or misfire from it. I live in a small town of 900 pop. Most of us own shoot guns.

      • blackwingA520

        Are you talking about AGUiLA ammo? I have some too, pretty good stuff. I bought a 500 rd. brick (10 boxes) of their Sub-sonic 22’s about 15 years ago for $16 (shot the best out of my gun). I used it to hunt Raccoons at night because of how quiet they are. I still have about half of the brick left. If I bought it today it would probably be over $35.00.

        • mousekiller

          Yep. Now it is closer to $45 a brick. No mis fires or duds. Happy with them.

          • blackwingA520

            I did not know this, but I read somewhere that the company that makes the Aguila ammo is one of the largest .22 ammo makers, I was surprised to hear that..

    • They failed with the $15 per hour wage increase; they will fail with this too. Gun shops will just move out.

      • dragonfire777

        Or people will buy black market.

        • Daniel from TN

          Black market will probably be cheaper.

  • old codger

    Where’d this take place?? In Seattle Washedupton! Dumb F–KING SOB’s!!!

    • blackwingA520

      Seattle is a bastion of Liberalism, doesn’t surprise me at all. I stopped buying anything that comes from that State

  • John Siemens

    Once again we see the government BS of idiots that cannot logically see how their actions hurt society. “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed!” Anything that impedes the ability of a citizen to bear arms is an infringement. This law taxes law abiding citizens but does nothing to impede the criminal element that preys on citizenry. The government should be eliminating any tax on firearms purchased by law abiding citizens in order to encourage concealed carriers who will put their own lives at risk to stop criminals. Valid statistics show that where there are more concealed carriers, crime rates go down.

  • BruceB

    Next step would be like California where you can not buy ammunition from out of state and have it shipped to you in California. However, I can see an increase in people doing their own reloading of ammo.

    • Deplorable Robert

      Bingo! Reloading is the answer and it’s fun.

    • dogtrainer1

      You are incorrect about out of State ammo purchases. I, unfortunately, live in California and I now always purchase my ammo online, from out of State sellers. Even with shipping, it is much cheaper.

      • BruceB

        It has not taken effect yet, but it will in 2018 … You can buy ammo by mail, but it must be sent through a licensed FFL and you get to go through a background check … More info in the link below:

        California lawmakers and voters passed a slew of gun control laws in
        2016 that impose significant new restrictions on the state’s more than 6
        million firearms owners. The new regulations, which take effect in
        stages over the next two years, affect a broad range of practices, from
        where you buy your ammunition to how you store your guns and who can
        borrow them.

        Several of the new laws specifically
        target ammunition purchases. Among the changes coming as of January
        2018: Californians who want to buy ammunition online or through catalogs
        will have to ship their purchases through a licensed dealer. And for
        the first time, state residents will have to undergo a background check
        when buying ammunition.

        Starting July 2019, another layer of oversight kicks in: Anyone buying ammunition from a vendor will be required to undergo background screening via a state system.

        Read more here:

        Although the restrictions on
        ammunition purchases don’t take effect for another year, retailers say
        gun owners have been buying more ammo amid uncertainty and confusion
        over the new laws.

        Read more here:

        • dogtrainer1

          Thanks, as I did not realize that this had passed, yet. I guess that means I only have a few more months to Stock Up. Just more of the California BS and added taxation. If I were not a disabled (missing one leg) senior citizen, I would move the Hell out of this looney toon State. The only ones with any Rights are the “ILLEGALS”!

          • old codger

            Gee bring back the Sat. joyrides in the country!! With a pit stop for a restroom break, maybe a bite to eat and load the trunks with ammo!!

  • blackwingA520

    Gun owners/Hunters: If you can afford to, move out of that Liberal POS city ASAP.

  • mousekiller

    I remember when the city of Seattle tried to put a rail system down the middle of of I 5 thinking Boeing would pay for most of it. . Boeing told them get lost No way. Commuters use it, commuters pay for it.

  • Deplorable Robert

    Yea, the Liberal Left Mental Midgets approve and allow the taxing of a right, but scream bloody murder it we want an ID( that is given at no cost for voters ) at voting polls. Maybe we should tax voter registration cards, and charge a tax to be REGISTERED dimocrat or REGISTERED Republicans ?

    • Terry Butts

      Actually they tried that years ago it was called a POLL tax the politicians tried to use it to keep only the wealthy able to vote just like this tax allows only those wealthy enough to afford it to legally buy ammo. The courts ruled the poll tax unconstitutional as it prevented people who could not pay it from exercising their right to vote hopefully a future court will see this tax for what it is a means to ensure only the wealthy can exercise their right to be armed and rule it unconstitutional as well.

      • Deplorable Robert

        EXACTLY. If they scream about taxes on voter bases, it shouldn’t be levied on gun rights/ legal gun ownership.😎

  • Sarge

    Nothing more then the State’s attempt to regulate self-protection out of existence.

  • Estell Newton

    Why can’t people understand that it’s the illegal guns that are the problem and not the legal ones? Even if they take the legal guns away, the criminals will still have them one way or another.

    • Terry Butts

      Because they are not actually concerned about crime, criminals or protecting the people they are just using the crimes as an excuse to try and disarm the legally armed citizens of this nation because so long as the civilians right to keep and bear arms exists and is not infringed they are a a FREE people not slaves to government dictates.

      Every nation in history that has disarmed its citizens (regardless of what the weapon of the day was) have gone on to pick some group to be the scapegoat for the nations continuing problems including the crimes they PROMISED would end if only the LEGALLY armed citizens were disarmed and in the worst cases proceeded to commit mass executions (murders by government order) in an effort to FIX the problems they blamed on them.

      Anyone who saw how HITLER went from an elected official to essentially a dictator can see exact parallels to how the ANTI gun groups politicize every tragedy before even the full facts on what happened come out. In most cases the facts show the criminal was in violation of ALL EXISTING infringements they already passed on the same promise that they would prevent such a crime from ever happening again even though they have FAILED to do so every time.

      • john

        Well said, People pay attention or lose your god given rite to your Government.

      • Estell Newton

        England doesn’t even allow their police to carry guns and look where it’s getting them.

        • Deplorable Robert

          Some English “Bobbies” carry firearms now. They are realizing that good guys with guns, stop bad guys with guns. Just have to get guns back into the hands of responsible citizens.

        • Daniel from TN

          Crime in England skyrocketed after the firearms band. To save face, the British government created a new office whose sole job is to rename crimes so they do not sound as bad as they really are. Example: Rape is now called “Domestic Assault.”
          Australia also banned gun ownership. Many crimes there have increased so much that the increase cannot be measured. It seems someone forgot to tell the criminals they were not allowed to have firearms.

          • Estell Newton

            It’s like they say.  When guns are outlawed only the outlaws will have  guns.

  • Don Dittmer

    Gun violence is an issue that should be shared by all just like the 911 tax/fee on phones, it’s not just for gun owners. This is an un-fair tax and they know it. Should be headed for the Supreme court IF they should decide to take it!

  • Lee Hauenstein

    He is using the same language that John Roberts used to avoid the question of Constitutionality of Obamacare. He made his ruing without addressing the Issue.

  • Terry Butts

    So when are we going to see the “KNIFE VIOLENCE TAX” or the “VEHICLE VIOLENCE TAX” or “BASEBALL BAT VIOLENCE TAX” or any such tax on other items LEGALLY used everyday that can and HAS BEEN abused by criminals to commit criminal violence?

    This is a tax that has the sole purpose of making it harder for LAW ABIDING citizens to LEGALLY defend themselves in violation of the constitutions PROHIBITION on infringing upon the rights of the people once again using the INCORRECT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY that only poor people commit crimes that if they can just get PRICES HIGH ENOUGH crime will vanish because they can no longer (as if they ever did) legally acquire ammo for the guns they already have.


    1) RARELY if ever legally acquire their weapons or ammo thus THIS TAX HAS NO EFFECT ON THEM OR THEIR CRIMES.

    2) LOVE when politicians DISARM their intended victims making it easier for them to get away with their crimes.

    4) Have OPENLY LAUGHED at the idea gun free zones protect people from them and the laws PRICING guns, ammo, or both out of LEGAL reach of a large portion of US CITIZENS.

    • Deplorable Robert

      Submit those proposals to their city council, and they will take you up on it! Mo money, Mo money…

    • Steve Dolyniuk

      GEEZ ! Don’t give them any ideas ! That is all the Liberal Politicians know, tax, tax, tax !

      • Terry Butts

        I am sure they have already thought of them but their lawyers explained that the “VALID USES” for those items would prevent them winning in court.

        After all the same judge that would declare a GUN restriction valid to “PROTECT THE CHILDREN” will fight tooth and nail to prevent any similar restriction on items such as cars or baseball bats because somehow a persons right to travel and play baseball outweighs their right to be able to protect themselves.

        After every case where a vehicle or some other object not a gun was used to commit the exact same violent crime the media is either silent or barely mentions it but if a gun is used they beat the story to death making out it was somehow the “GUNS FAULT” or the fault of “GUN OWNERS” who refuse to let them gut the bill of rights by SELECTIVELY removing the RIGHTS that offend certain politicians/groups that the crime happened not the criminal who actually committed the crime.

        They seem to think there is no valid use for guns (except by their personal security) and pass taxes like these every time they fail to pass actual restrictions on the rights of the people or one they had is tossed out for being unconstitutional.

        Just like in that one case a while back when they failed to get a magazine capacity ban passed in one state the DA began using the number of bullets needed to stop an attacker as the determination factor in charging the VICTIM with murder or considering it a case of self defense thus ABUSING his authority to impose the ban by making it cost victims who defend themselves outside of his beliefs about how one should be allowed to protect themselves cost them what it takes to hire a lawyer and defend themselves in court even though the evidence was open and shut self defense.

        He blatantly said if it had taken ONE BULLET LESS to stop the assailant he already had a protective order against after a previous attack then no charges would have been filed as if taking eight shots instead of seven to stop an attacker made it murder instead of self defense. Police have been known to need 40+ shots to stop some violent attackers especially if they are on certain illegal drugs that prevent them from feeling anything so they attack until they can no longer physically move.

        • Steve Dolyniuk

          I’m with you, but just in case, there might be one idiot politician that wouldn’t think of it by him or her self.

          • Terry Butts

            True it seems many politicians do not even think at all.

            That is why so many clips of them saying dumb things to support their agenda can be found.

            For example the one who while arguing for a ban on gun magazines over a certain size (which actually would ban most magazines that ship with new guns) who said “existing ones will run empty and be gone” as if a gun magazine was not able to be reloaded all to support her claim it would take them away from criminals as if criminals would not ILLEGALLY acquire or build their own regardless of the law.

  • ralph

    washington is communist and has been. Maybe voters should grow up

  • john

    It (IS) or should be (UNCONSTITUTIONAL) to make owning a firearm a hardship to any citizen of this United States, Seattle’s high court should be “reprimanded” for this act of adding a fee to owning a firearm and it’s ammunition in the state of Washington.

  • john

    Things sure have changed,There was a time you could go to your local hardware store if you were of age and purchase a case of dynamite a box of cap’s and fuse,That would not be a good thing in today’s world,What do you think?

    • daniel wright

      Not if the customer is a jihadist. This however doesn’t forbid sales,it just taxes them. This isn’t over. It was decided in state court. I’m sure the ninth circus court in SF will uphold the decision. The SCOTUS is a different story.

  • daniel wright

    I’m sure there are gun shops in many nearby cities that would gladly sell firearms and ammo to Seattle residents. I don’t see any thing about a tax for possessing them,just for buying them.


    So what can we expect the State of Washington is run by democrats. it’s time to leave this miserable state.

  • Steven Amster

    I lived near Seattle in the early 1980s while I was stationed in the military near Ft. Lewis/McChord AFB. I would not likely desire to live there again because of its loony lefty politics.

  • John J. Mulhall

    Remember the names of the judges. Remember the names of the Councilmembers. Cry BillyJeff Clinton tears when they are outed.

  • williaml

    What is in the water they are drinking?

    • Deplorable Robert

      Most Liberal Left Mental Midgets drink Cool-ade!😎

      • old codger

        With an LSD chaser!

  • Walter Wiedenbeck

    “Shall not be infringed upon in any way” This tax seems to me as a clear violation of the constitution.Time to get rid of the numb nuts who violate the law of the land!!!

    • mousekiller

      Like CO that charges a view tax if you can see Pikes Peak from your property. Not a lot different then a motel charging an arena tax on your bill to fund an arena in town for things like rodeos and the like you will never step foot in. ILL did it.

  • Vaquero

    These leftists idiots keep loosing. People will buy ammo on-line .

  • Ernest_T

    Do they have a beer violence tax? Most violence happens when booze is involved. Guns are only involved a small amount of the time. Do they count it as gun violence when the gun stop the crime? I bet they count it as gun violence whenever a gun is present if it is used in defense or not at all.

  • Kosmo

    Why not $2,500 on each gun and $50 on each bullet?

    • old codger

      Unless that was “SARCASM”, please take a running jump, sans parachute, off the side of the Grand Canyon! I hear tell it’s very panoramic! Be advised it’s NOT the jump that kills people, it’s the sudden stop at the bottom!!

  • Russell Purkey

    The Blooming Idiot Liberals Cannot or Will Not see that these Rulings mean less Citizens armed and the Criminal element will take that as a green light to move in and ravage the liberal mindset. So be it.

    The People on here are correct ! Move the hell away from Seattle for your safety and that of your family.

  • Steve Dolyniuk

    This whole West Coast is run by Liberal Democrats, & these corrupt Judges make their own laws, instead of following the Constitution. Liberal Democrats are SICK !

  • siobhra

    Oh good. Now we can bring back the Poll Tax on voting. If you can tax one right you can tax them all.