Seattle passes lost-and-stolen law, gun and bullet tax

Some details here.

The major provisions appear to be:
1) $25/gun tax
2) $0.05/bullet tax
3) Mandatory reporting of lost-and-stolen guns

I think this is likely to violate Washington State preemption laws, but it's useful to analyze anyway, because it's pretty revealing about the anti-gun motivations.

In particular, the tax on bullets is a tax targeted at those ordinary people who are involved in the shooting sports and like to shoot frequently for practice. Hunters don't need to shoot often. People interested in armed self-defense usually practice at least monthly. People interested in target shooting often do so with .22lr ammunition, a common and very cheap type of practice ammunition. A $0.05/bullet tax on that ammunition will nearly double the price. Criminals, on the other hand, don't generally bother to practice shooting much. For a criminal, getting caught at a range with a gun is itself a crime. And you don't need a lot of ammunition to hold up a store. Really, you don't need any ammunition or even a real gun; a realistic toy gun will be enough in most cases.

So the bullet tax is targeted at people who shoot a lot, and the gun tax is targeted at people who buy a lot of guns through legal sources. Neither of those groups are composed of criminals. They are, however, the people who are likely to push for gun rights. In my opinion, this is a political targeting operation disguised as a tax.

The same applies to the lost-and-stolen law. It's not going to solve any crimes, it's just going to get innocent people whose guns were stolen charged with crimes for being victimized by a criminal. More importantly to politicians, though, it closes the last "registration loophole"; if you buy a gun in Seattle you need to pass a background check or the sale is illegal (including private sales now), and you can be charged with a crime if you don't have a gun that you are bought (with background check) and haven't sold (with background check) and haven't reported lost or stolen.

And for people who bought and then sold guns before the lost-and-stolen rule came into effect, they are now in a catch-22. When they sold the gun without a background check, before *that* rule was in place, it was legal. But they can now be charged with a crime if they can't prove the same took place before the background check requirement for private sales, under either the background check law or the lost and stolen reporting law.

The simplest solution is probably to leave Seattle, which I'm sure the Seattle politicians would be quite happy with.

This entry was published Tue Aug 18 09:13:55 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-08-18 09:13:55.0. [Tweet]

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