Buying a firearm in Seattle is more expensive now thanks to a gun tax imposed last year on the sale of weapons and ammunition. The increased revenue was slated to help the University of Washington and a nearby trauma center, which treats the majority of gun shot victims, to study how to reduce gun violence and offer ways to relieve the tax burden on citizens footing the bill. However, the plan has failed miserably as sales of firearms tanked and gun violence has surged across the city.
Residents weren’t willing to pay $25 extra on each gun purchase, as well as up to 5 cents per round depending on the caliber. So, they go to neighboring towns to make their purchases. Gun shops in the city have had to fire employees and some closed up for good and moved away. Seattle officials projected tax revenues between $300,000 and $500,000, but have barely scraped up $100,000 as gun sales dropped nearly 60% across the city.
To add insult to injury, the Seattle Police Department is reporting a huge increase in gun violence across the metropolitan area since the tax was leveed. In the first five months of 2017, there have been eight more confirmed shootings than for the entirety of 2016. Six of those victims are confirmed innocent bystanders. Breaking another record are the 155 reports of shots fired reported already this year which is more than any other previous year. In all of 2016, there were 132 reports of shots fired for the entire year.
So, to recap: the government stepped in to “fix” a problem, but made things worse for everyone. Is anyone surprised?