It must have seemed like the ultimate liberal dream. The possibility to combine two of the Democratic Party’s favorite things! A chance to raise taxes AND punish gun owners? At the same time?? Be still my bleeding heart!
The tax itself should have been immediately ruled unconstitutional by the courts, of course. The law is clear that the states do not have the authority to place taxes on the citizenry that makes it more difficult for Americans to practice their constitutional rights. And gun ownership is certainly one of those rights. If a city imposed special taxes on gay marriage, you can bet that the left would hit the roof. And, while Democrats will try to tell you otherwise, there is certainly nothing in the Bill of Rights guaranteeing an American’s right to get gay married.
There is, however, a constitutional right to bear arms, as much as liberals hate to admit it.
Alas, that won’t stop them from trying everything they can to ban guns without actually banning them. And you have to give the Seattle City Council credit for knowing they would run headlong into a court battle if they tried to simply ban gun ownership in their city. That at least makes them a tiny bit smarter than their comrades in Washington, D.C., who still haven’t figured out that they’ve been told – multiple times – by the courts to cut it out. But a clever liberal is still a liberal, and so the Seattle city council went a different route: They added a $25-per-gun-sale tax and slapped a smaller tax on ammunition sales. They sold all of this to their constituents using a propaganda campaign that promised that these taxes would not only reduce shootings but that they would use the revenue to help victims of gun crime. They predicted that this revenue would land somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000.
So that’s two verifiable and testable claims made by the Seattle Democrats. How do they match up to reality?
Well, so far, estimates say that the taxes have raised a little less than $100,000. Why so little? Well, because gun sellers (and entrepreneurs of all kinds) are even more clever than liberal Democrat politicians. Knowing what was good for business, many of them merely crossed over city lines and avoided the whole nasty tax business altogether. Problem solved!
But what about the other claim – the one that said these taxes would reduce gun violence in Seattle? Well, that also failed to materialize. According to the city’s police department, shootings in the city are up 37% in 2017 and the number of fatalities linked to guns has DOUBLED.
It seems a little too easy to say that whatever Democrats propose, thinking Americans should automatically assume the opposite.
But damn, it just holds true so often…