Friday, August 14, 2015

Seattle Has Enacted A Tax On Firearms and Ammo Sales

Below is a guest blog post from Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon:

On August 10, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved to tax the sale of firearms and ammunition. From the article:

The council adopted the tax - patterned after a similar measure in Cook County, Illinois - on an 8-0 vote. The tax amounts to $25 for each firearm sold in the city, plus 5 cents per round for nearly every type of ammunition. The revenue would be used for gun safety research and gun violence prevention programs. 
The council also unanimously passed a companion measure to require mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. Mayor Ed Murray said he supports both efforts.

The move came as the city is struggling to reduce gun violence as well as the enormous financial burden of gunshot-related trauma treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 

The direct medical costs of treating 253 gunshot victims at Harborview Medical Center in 2014 totaled more than $17 million. Taxpayers paid more than $12 million of that. City officials estimate that the new tax would bring in $300,000 to $500,000 a year, but gun shop owners told council members those numbers are inflated and that the law would cost them customers and sales. 

The gun shop owners did not comment on the cost of lives lost due to gunshot death.

The direct cost of gun violence in America is $8.6 billion (such as emergency responder costs, court costs, and victim treatment).  87% of the direct costs is paid by taxpayers, mostly for imprisonment of convicted shooters

Add to that $221 billion in indirect costs (such as victims' lost wages and quality of life).

How much does the gun lobby pay to cover that cost? $0.00.

Americans pay, directly and indirectly, an exorbitant cost for gun violence while the gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, acquit themselves of any responsibility. The American tax payer foots the bill  for medical care, extra police, long-term care of the seriously injured and care for those who are shot but not insured.

We pay when we give up the freedom to go to the movies or a shopping mall because we worry about yet another person who easily got a gun he never should have had.

We pay when our sisters, daughters, aunts and mothers are intimidated into silence and into staying in abusive relationships at the point of a gun. 

We pay for gun violence in America every time we are afraid to go into public, every time we don't go to a movie, every time we decide to not go to a shopping mall, every time we worry about sending our kids to school, every time we worry that a loved one might commit suicide.

Any responsible gun owner would gladly pay a tax to help reduce gun violence. 

Frankly, I don't care if gun owners are losing a few gun sales.