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Tacoma City Council approves controversial gun tax

Tacoma's City Council debated a controversial gun tax Nov. 12, 2019. (KOMO News)
Tacoma's City Council debated a controversial gun tax Nov. 12, 2019. (KOMO News)
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TACOMA -- After three hours of intense and heated testimony from 112 people on both sides of the divisive issue, the Tacoma City Council passed a controversial plan to tax guns and ammunition.

Council leaders passed the gun and ammo tax with the caveat that it won't go into effect until July 2020.

The tax adds $25 to each gun sold, plus an extra two to five cents for each bullet, depending on size.

There was an amendment to slash the price of the tax in half, but it was withdrawn.

Council members said the money is for programs to prevent gun violence which has gone up 37% in Tacoma between 2014 to 2018. A total of 22 people have been murdered in Tacoma so far this year; 19 deaths involved guns.

However, folks against the tax say it would punish law abiding citizens who won't be able to afford to protect themselves.

Gun shop owners and manufacturers like Aero Precision said they will be forced out of town.

"There is a scheme here to impose a tax on the exercise of the Second Amendment," said one speaker against the tax. "Shame on you, shame on you. You're wrong, you know you're wrong, and to hell with you."

"The only way to reduce gun violence is to enforce the laws that are currently on the books,” said another speaker against the tax.

"We need to discourage the purchase of guns and ammunition. That is an answer,” countered another speaker who favored tax.

From now until July, city leaders said they will meet with community groups to figure out how to spend the money and see what, if anything, can be changed before the tax is implemented.

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City leaders said there is an option to repeal the tax if it has negative effects on the community.

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