Tacoma passes a new firearm tax


Tacoma City Council met on November 12 to finalize their decision on the new tax bill.

Julia Henning, Online Editor

The Tacoma City Council met for over the past four weeks to hear about and eventually pass a bill that would impose a tax on firearms and ammunition.

The bill introduced a tax of $25.00 per firearm sold at retail, $0.02 per round of ammunition .22 caliber or less, and $0.05 per round of other ammunition sold at retail. This change would provide $30,000 to programs that increase public safety and prevent gun violence in the Tacoma. 

Upon entering the Tacoma Municipal Building, I was directed downstairs to the hall where the City Council meets. Even though I had arrived 30 minutes early, the room had reached capacity and I was guided to an overflow room where they had a TV for the meeting to play on. The room was a mixture of both people for and against the bill. It smelled overwhelmingly of cigarettes permeating from tall men in neon shirts that were against the bill. Because I was there with Students Demand Action, a gun prevention group, I found some of the members of the same organization as mine. 

It took awhile for the program to begin, but once it did, the council moved quickly through the other bills to get through to the civilian comments. Each person had a minute and thirty seconds to state their side and why the bill should be passed that way. My friend, Grace Ritchie, a junior in the School of Math and Sciences, spoke for the bill in front of the mayor

Because the bill was already sponsored by Mayor Woodards and two other council members, it was likely to pass. This frustrated the people against the bill that I was in the room with. Many of the people against the bill were talking beforehand about their disappointment if the bill were to pass. Many of them believed it was wrong to make the responsible gun owners pay more for their guns, and that the bill was targeting them even if this money was going back to help prevent gun violence. 

In the end, the City Council voted 8-0 to approve the bill. The founder of Everytown for Gun Safety, Shannon Watts, recognized our work on Twitter and congratulated us. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Shannon Watts founded Moms Demand Action in 2012 for advocates of gun violence prevention. Students Demand Action was founded shortly after for high school and college age activists.