Judge upholds Seattle gun tax after NRA challenge

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SEATTLE — A judge upheld Seattle’s gun tax on Tuesday after the National Rifle Association challenged the law in court.

The case was filed by the NRA and two other advocacy groups in August shortly after the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a tax on guns and bullets.

It places a $25 tax on gun sales and up to a 5-cent tax per bullet sold within city limits. It’s set to take effect on Jan. 1.

The law’s challengers alleged the tax “is an impermissible regulation of firearms,” according to court documents.

Judge Palmer Robinson of King County Superior Court shot down that claim, saying the city does have the authority to levy the tax and is not attempting to regulate gun sales.

The Second Amendment Foundation, one of the advocacy groups that joined the NRA in the suit, vowed to appeal the decision.

The group said in a statement that it is confident the decision will be overturned because “local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed.”

City officials plan to raise $300,000 to $500,000 per year with the new tax, and it plans to use the money on gun violence research and prevention programs.

Tim Burgess, the city lawmaker that sponsored the original tax bill, said the lobby groups are to blame for blocking “funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. But in Seattle it is different. Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts.”