Washington: Will proposed gun tax put sellers out of business?

Tacoma, Washington, is slated to join a handful of U.S. cities who have imposed high taxes on gun sales -- only if the city council votes in favor of the proposal Tuesday.

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The proposed ordinance, seen as a way to defray the rising cost of gun violence, has troubled local gun shop owners who say they would bear the brunt of the tax.

If passed, there would be a $25 tax on all gun purchases. There would also be a 2-cent per round tax on ammunition .22 caliber and below and a 5-cent tax on ammunition above .22 caliber, according to Q13 FOX.

Ryan Mello, the councilman behind the Tacoma measure, told Q13 FOX that all the money would go toward educating kids about gun violence through different organizations in the city.

Mello predicts that the tax will bring in between $30,000 and $40,000 each year while making buying a gun less appealing. The goal is to have the proposal, if passed, take effect at the start of 2020, according to the outlet.

"There's not one thing we're going to do that's going to curb gun violence, I think it's going to be a lot of things that we're gonna do," Mello told Q13 FOX. "But we can't sit on our hands and do nothing."

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The Tacoma tax comes with strong opposition from the largest pro-gun groups in the country as well as local gun shop owners who say this would force them out of the industrial port city of more than 200,000.

"It'll put us out of business; there's no ifs, ands or buts about it," said Dan Davies, who owns Mary's Pistols in Tacoma, told the outlet. Davies stressed that trying to fix the issue of gun violence with a tax is not the right way to make a change.

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Lawmakers in the city of Seattle, which passed a similar tax, projected seeing $300,000 to $500,000 a year in gun taxes but received only $77,642 in 2018 because gun stores moved away, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Over the past four decades, dozens of states have passed gun pre-emption laws, or laws that limit locals’ authority to regulate guns, according to the Journal.

As it stands now, over 40 states have a “pre-emption” law prohibiting local governments from enacting their own gun regulations, according to The Trace. States that allow cities to enact their own gun laws without restriction include Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York -- states of which have the lowest rates of gun death, The Trace reported.

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The proposed ordinance comes as gun control advocates rally around the country, seeking to pressure Congress to tighten the nation’s gun laws after the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio and Northern California.

The gunmen in El Paso and Dayton killed more than 30 people in back-to-back weekend shootings in early August that stunned the nation and revived calls to tighten access to firearms. Those shootings came days after another gunman opened fire at a festival in Gilroy, California, killing three people.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.