The Council’s Education and Governance Committee voted this morning to approve two gun safety measures: a gun violence tax on the sellers of firearms and ammunition and a requirement to report lost and stolen firearms to the police.
The gun violence tax has drawn the most attention. The purpose of this tax is to raise general revenue for the City and to use that revenue to provide broad-based public benefits for residents of Seattle related to gun violence. The City can do this by funding programs that promote public safety, prevent gun violence and address in part the cost of gun violence in Seattle. The purpose of the tax is not to regulate, restrict or pose barriers to lawful gun ownership.
Yesterday I was invited to attend the UW’s School of Public Health’s Summer Institute. One of my fellow speakers was Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar from the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. He presented about the costs of gun violence in society and had a series of slides that illustrated these high costs simple and clearly. I shared these slides with the committee this morning.
At the committee table, we made minor adjustments to the gun violence tax, lowering the tax for .22 caliber bullets from 5 cents to 2 cents per round. We passed the mandatory reporting bill without changes. Both measures will be voted on by the Full Council on Monday, August 10.
I’ve written more about these gun safety measures previously on this blog.