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Open Letter to Seattle City Council's Education and Governance Committee

Esteemed Seattle Council Members:

My name is Sergey Solyanik. I own Precise Shooter LLC, one of the two largest firearms sellers in Seattle.

The mathematics behind this proposal is grossly incorrect. It is impossible to estimate the range that this tax would bring given the process that the City has used, as outlined in the Seattle Times article by Daniel Beekman. They picked the range of $300000-500000 simply because it was “big enough”. To reach this range, however, Seattle residents would have to buy firearms at 5 times per capita rate compared to Cook County, IL, on which this proposal has been based.

The economics behind this proposal is even worse. Seattle has very few gun dealers inside the city, and a lot of gun dealers just outside. Most of the 22 firearms licensees cited by the city do not engage in retail firearms transaction. If this is to be enacted – and, even corrected, the tax on ammunition still amounts to as high as 40% - the two dealers who sell vast majority of all firearms and ammunition will either become not competitive and go out of business, or be forced to move. My store would have paid around $45000 in taxes per year under this proposal. This is actually more than the net profit from running the business. I would have to either raise prices and become non-competitive, or move. Obviously, I will move – just 3 miles north to get outside Seattle City limits. It is inconvenient, but it is vastly cheaper than paying the tax or going out of business.

As a result, Seattle will force many millions of dollars out of the city, and lose all the direct and ancillary revenue to the suburbs. The number of firearms or ammunition in the city is not going to be affected in any way, as most of the sales today come from outside the city limits – the city will simply lose money.

None of this is part of the “fiscal note” that is attached to the bill. The numbers regarding the prices of ammunition in the staff memo are also grossly inaccurate – the actual prices of 50 round box of most commonly used ammunition ranges from $2.50 to $14. All this underscores the poor quality of the work that have led to this proposal. If Council Member Burgess wanted to truly solve the problem, he should have created a working group which would include representatives of the firearms industry, and work with real numbers, which are readily available – rather than the fantasy.

I believe the citizens of Seattle deserve decision making process based on data and logical analysis, not ideology.

Thank you for your attention.