A statement released by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), SAF leader Alan Gottlieb announced that he, along with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) filed suit earlier this week against the City of Seattle, Washington to overturn a new retail sales tax on guns and ammunition. According to Gottlieb, the new taxes are:
“…a clear violation of Washington State’s 33-year-old state preemption law that does not allow cities, counties or political subdivisions to enact laws relating to firearms not authorized by state law…”
According to the statement, SAF, NRA and NSSF joined two of the city’s firearms retailers – Outdoor Emporium and Precise Shooter LLC – and two private citizens in filing their lawsuit in King County Superior Court. Defendants in the suit are Mayor Ed Murray, the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, and that department’s director, Glen Lee.
“We’ve been down this path before with Seattle when we sued them and won, knocking out their attempt to ban guns in city park facilities,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.
“The city does not seem to understand that no matter how they wrap this package, it’s still a gun control law and it violates Washington’s long-standing preemption statute.”
“Once again, anti-gun activists in Seattle have chosen to violate the Washington State Constitution and trample upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
“They tried to enact similar regulations back in 2009 and lost. It’s a shame to see such a waste of public resources on issues the courts have already ruled to be unconstitutional.”
Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel said:
“NSSF has no alternative but to be an active party in this lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s attempt to interfere in the lawful commerce in firearms and ammunition on the grounds that it violates Washington State’s preemption statute that blocks cities from regulating the sale of firearms on their own.”
“The Seattle ordinance is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business.”
The lawsuit is historic in this respect. It is the first time SAF, NRA and NSSF have collaborated on a lawsuit.
SAF and NRA joined forces in the past against New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, the latter overturning an attempt by then-Mayor Greg Nickels and his successor, Mike McGinn, to prohibit legally-carried firearms in city park facilities but that this is first time NSSF has joined in a unified legal action.
Keane added that:
“No municipality can be permitted to set itself apart as a city-state, in defiance of existing law, especially for the purpose of financially penalizing law-abiding gun owners for problems they did not create and crimes they didn’t commit.”
“Just as we did in 2009, we cautioned the city against adopting this tax and our concerns were ignored for the sake of political grandstanding. The law is very clear. Cities in Washington cannot set up their own gun laws, and we expect the courts to agree.”
The Second Amendment Foundation, which was founded in 1974 and has grown to more than 650,000 members, is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms.