Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide), chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, issued the following statement after the Washington State Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax. Burgess introduced the legislation at Council in 2015:
“I’m thrilled to see our Supreme Court so strongly uphold Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax. We knew from the start that we had a strong and sound legal case, and I’m proud that the tax proceeds can continue funding gun safety research and prevention programs at Harborview Medical Center, which is underway right now. Gun violence costs the City and County $180 million per year, and I believe the gun industry should help offset some of those costs.
“Seattle was the first city in the nation to directly fund gun violence research, which I felt we were compelled to do because the NRA has blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. It’s truly disappointing that the NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic. That makes today an especially huge win. I hope other cities in Washington now feel comfortable to follow suit.”
Approved by Council in August 2015, the gun violence tax requires firearms dealers to pay $25 for every firearm sold and $0.05 or $0.02 for every round of ammunition sold, depending on the caliber of ammunition. The proceeds are used for gun violence research and prevention programs at Harborview Medical Center.