Seattle Hiding Gun Tax Figures

Seattle Hiding Gun Tax Figures
The city that imposed a $25 tax on every gun sale won't say how much money was made from it.web photo

On January 1, 2016 a tax on guns and ammunition in the city of Seattle went into effect, charging gun shops $25 on every gun sale, $0.02 on every round of .22LR ammunition, and $0.05 on every round of any other caliber.

In June of last year we reported that a Puget Sound area gun store called for firearm manufacturers to cease business with the City of Seattle and to stop supplying guns and ammunition to the municipality because of the tax, and because of the city’s decision to destroy all police service weapons when they cycle out of the department, instead of reselling them, even to other police departments.

Now, this story from king5.com says the city is continually refusing to disclose how much money it is making from the gun and ammo tax since it has been in place.

Considering there is only one remaining gun shop in Seattle after Sergey Solyanik moved Precise Shooter when the tax went into effect, many suspect that the revenue isn't living up to the $500,000 the city said it would make. That money was supposed to go toward "gun violence prevention" programs.

"You're a public agency, a municipality. You're collecting taxes. The public has a right to know what you're collecting," said Dave Workman of gunmag.com, who filed a suit demanding the statistics be released. "One can presume or suspect that the revenue is nowhere near what they projected."

Solyanik said in the story that he has sold more guns to Seattle residents in 2016 at his shop outside the city limits than he did while he was located in the city in 2015.

"Consistent with the Public Records Act and the Seattle Municipal Code, the City will not release this tax information, even in the aggregate, while there are too few taxpayers or if there are other circumstances that would result in the disclosure of confidential tax information, such as a small number of taxpayers with a single taxpayer paying a large percentage of the aggregate figure," Julie Moore, spokesperson for the Office of Finance, said in part in a reply to king5.com's requests for the information. "With all returns received for 2016, this is the situation we are in.

“Tax return documents themselves are fully exempt from public disclosure. Additionally, taxpayer information is protected from disclosure per the Seattle Municipal Code, 5.55.200 ‘Public Disclosure– Confidentiality – Information sharing,’ which complies with state law, including RCW 42.56.230 (Section 4), ‘Taxpayer information is exempt from public inspection.’”