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Seattle's Unconstitutional Gun Tax Fails

Seattle's Unconstitutional Gun Tax Fails
The sun sets over the downtown business area of Seattle, Washington on November 10, 2014. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Saturday, 01 July 2017 07:00 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Way back in 1958, Time magazine wrote about the Supreme Court and the power to tax. The story covered McCulloch v. Maryland where Chief Justice John Marshall ruled, "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." Marshall declared the states (and, by inference, local governments), "have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress."

It goes without saying that includes a tax designed to nullify the Constitution itself.

The fact the ruling was issued in 1819 does not mean the principle isn’t relevant and in force today. Even in Seattle, Washington.

The Seattle city council was smart enough to know it couldn’t hope to confiscate all the guns within the city or completely ban gun ownership. So in 2015 the council did what it considered the next best thing by combining two of the left’s favorite activities: taxing and lying.

RedState reports, "Based on the same economic principle that has created wealth by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, Seattle slapped a $25 tax on every firearm sale as well as a tax on ammunition (5 cents per centerfire cartridge and 2 cents per rimfire cartridge)."

The propaganda campaign that accompanied passage of the tax claimed the law was designed to reduce "gun violence" and the money raised would go to aid victims of gun crime. This is a strange justification. The left is obsessed with equality of outcome, so how could it be fair to give money to the victims of gun crime while ignoring the victims of knife crime?

I don’t know if they used the same crackpot economists that predicted Obamacare would create jobs, but Seattle "experts" claimed the tax would raise somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000. After the city took its cut for overhead and "handling costs" the victims would get the rest.

Naturally the duplicitous tax failed to reach expectations. Gun stores took their inventory and workforce out of the city limits and now don’t even pay sales tax. Most estimates put the revenue at under $100,000. So, you say, missing revenue targets is a small price to pay if gun violence is reduced.

But gun violence isn’t reduced. The Seattle PD reports that in the first five months of 2017 the number of people shot has exploded 37 percent and the number of deaths attributed to guns have doubled.

It’s another leftist policy failure sold to the public with a coating of lies. If someone wanted to spend the money on lawyers, the tax would be ruled unconstitutional, but that’s expensive and the city — which pays its lawyers with tax dollars — knows it.

And that’s why the tyranny of the Nanny State will continue for the foreseeable future in Seattle.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

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The Seattle city council was smart enough to know it couldn’t hope to confiscate all the guns within the city or completely ban gun ownership.
seattle, gun, taxes, shootings
Saturday, 01 July 2017 07:00 AM
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