A city council proposal in Tacoma, Washington seeks to restrict gun rights by taxing them out of existence.

Councilman Ryan Mello wants to impose a $25 tax on the sale of all guns sold within the city of 200,000. The supposed goal of this tax hike is to fund violence prevention programs aimed at reducing the murder rate.

However, a quote published in the Wall Street Journal exposes his real motivation – the confiscation of firearms. When asked about the bill’s purpose, he said:  “I can’t ban assault rifles in the city of Tacoma. I can’t ban certain types of ammo in the city of Tacoma. I can’t require safe storage. There’s a lot I can’t do,” said Ryan Mello, the Tacoma councilman behind the measure. “The one thing I am not preempted from doing is reasonable taxation on firearms and ammunition.”

Rep. Danny Davis – a member of Democratic Socialists of America and the sponsor of an even more extreme bill in the House of Representatives – was even clearer about his intentions. He told the Daily Caller that the purpose of his bill is to “outlaw them altogether. I am saying I would like to make it where nobody except military personnel would ever have access to these weapons.”

Even though state law bars local governments in 44 states (including Washington) from passing gun laws on their own, liberals in Tacoma seek to skirt this rule by using taxation instead of an outright ban.

Gun store owners are already discussing leaving the city to avoid this massive tax increase. According to the Wall Street Journal, a gun parts maker called Aero Precision is already planning to leave. The business, which employs 400 people in Tacoma said they “will be forced to explore our options if the Tacoma City Council does vote this in to place.”

A similar law passed the Seattle City Council and went into effect in 2016. Originally projected to raise between $300,000 to $500,000, last year it only raised $73,000 because the high tax rate drove gun stores out of business. 

Chicago passed a similar law in 2013 in an effort to ‘curb gun violence’. Now the Illinois State House is debating a measure to expand the failed tax to the entire state. They plan to impose a 3.25% surcharge on the sale of all firearms.

Even worse, the murder rate in both cities went up after the gun tax was introduced, with Chicago seeing almost twice as many killings in 2016 than it did in 2013 when the law was passed.

Americans for Tax Reform strongly opposes this new effort. Constitutional rights like freedom of speech and the right to bear arms should never be taxed. The gun tax proposals blatantly and openly deprive Americans of their 2nd Amendment rights by driving law-abiding gun stores out of their neighborhoods and by pricing many Americans out of the market.