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Seattle gun tax passed

Today Seattle City Council has voted - unanimously - to ban the firearms trade in Seattle. Though they claimed that they were after the revenue stream, they knew full well that a retail operation cannot exist if the most popular items sold are taxed 25% and 40% - and only in Seattle.

The real goal was to get rid of the gun stores. John Okamoto has said as much in his speech.

Here is the meeting page, the video should be there shortly: https://seattle.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=419374&GUID=FC1D1DF6-6B59-4A9F-8772-86D41E9D45EC&Options=&Search=

...and my remarks:

Esteemed City Council Members:

My name is Sergey Solyanik, I am the owner of one of the two Seattle’s biggest firearms retailers.

At this point you must be well aware that the revenue numbers in this proposal are not real. The city is not going to get any money from this tax – the city will instead lose the tax revenue on existing sales. Running a store when your most popular items have a 25-40% additional tax is economically infeasible. We compete with the sellers just outside Seattle and the sellers on the Internet who aren’t subject to it – so we cannot raise prices. We cannot simply eat this tax either – it is more than we earn in net profit.

So we would have to move. The only real purpose of this legislation is to run gun stores out of the city. I know it, you know it, and the courts will know it.

But even pretending that this law is somehow legal – please tell us, how moving two gun stores by three miles is going to reduce the violence in the city? Do you really believe that a couple of miles will make such a difference? In particular, my store would have to move from a secure location where in 50 years of its existence it had not a single robbery to a relatively unsecure location in a strip mall. How would that serve any public good? How would that reduce violence?

Of course it won’t. The market demand, the availability of guns and ammunition will all remain exactly the same. This will have no effect – except costing Seattle a fortune in lost sales revenue and legal expenses.

Does US have a higher violence rate than other countries? On average, it does (though King County is very much in line with Western Europe). Are guns the main culprit? No – Switzerland has a fully automatic weapon in every household, yet its violent crime rates are very low. The real problem in violent crime is economic disparity and lack of opportunities. This law does as much to address these real causes of violence as cough syrup used to treat tuberculosis. By passing this law you would pretend that you care, but you know full well that the patient is going to die, and you would needlessly alienate the very people you need to push through the real change.

Please vote against this law.

So - what next? Is it finished? No, in the words of Master Chief, we are just getting started!

First and foremost, we will, of course, sue. Prevailing in court should be easy - the city has made it no secret that it is after the firearms regulation, and this is, of course, illegal. We will move very quickly and we will ask the judge to issue a preliminary injunction so gun stores could continue operating in the city.

But even more importantly, we will organize and VIGOROUSLY pursue the people behind it through the political process. This election season Jean Godden, one of the sponsors of the law, has already lost:

(https://electionsdata.kingcounty.gov/2015/election-results-august/three/City/Seattle/City%20of%20Seattle%20Council%20District%20No.%204).

She is trailing Michael Maddux by 818 votes, and is not going on to the November elections. Who knows how many of the 818 voters were from the gun owners - but Seattle has easily over 100,000 gun owners, and elections are decided by a few hundred votes - we cannot just swing them if we were to get organized - WE CAN CONTROL THEM!

Tim Burgess, the author of this ill-designed law, is literally holding on for dear life.

https://electionsdata.kingcounty.gov/2015/election-results-august/three/City/Seattle/City%20of%20Seattle%20Council%20Position%20No.%208

As of this writing, he is under 46% of the vote, a really poor showing for an incumbent, and Jon Grant and John Roderick together would beat him. Somehow I do not think that any of the losing candidates' voters would be easy pickings for Burgess' campaign - the tone of his challengers was mostly about not electing Burgess, so the default state right now - he loses. As gun owners, we need to make absolutely sure that this default state carries into general elections.

Again, as a 100,000 strong segment of the population, we can do it!

Last, but not least, Sandy Brown.

https://electionsdata.kingcounty.gov/2015/election-results-august/three/City/Seattle/City%20of%20Seattle%20Council%20District%20No.%205

This person is one of the most rabid anti-gun activists in the area. He was one of the authors of I-594, he enthusiastically endorses the gun tax and he is the only one in Seattle who is actively campaigning on gun regulation.

And the good news is - he is currently trailing Deborah Juarez 40:20. We will show him who he is dealing with in November!

When this law passed, Seattle's gun community had its "Microsoft moment". During the 90s Microsoft thought that it can neglect dealing with the government and focus on writing software and winning over the users. Its competitors could not beat the company in the marketplace, but manipulated the political machine so well that they almost destroyed the company in an antitrust lawsuit.

Like Microsoft, Seattle gun owners have disregarded city politics for too long - and this is the payback. Let me show you how organized the gun opposition could and should have been. In this meeting, there were 2 speakers opposing the gun tax, and one supporting it. This was the crowd of people who came to challenge Murray's proposal to shut down the hookah bars (just because there were incidents of gun violence near them - Seattle seems to be big on guilt by association these days).

I submit that there are FAR more gun owners in the city of Seattle than hookah smokers. We should have, but did not have anywhere near the representation at the political events - and if we want to keep our rights, this MUST end.

Tim Burgess and Sandy Brown are the easy targets that the gun community should - and will! - pursue short term. But in the medium term we WILL get organized. We will form an active electoral block which will get people who supported this law out of office - one by one - and replace them with people who are not certifiably insane.

Therefore - enter Seattle Gun League! Details to follow, but for the moment I have the Facebook page, the domains, and the twitter account all reserved. If you are interested in helping build the movement from its very inception - email me!