The Tacoma City Council has voted in favor of a new tax on firearms and ammunition. The council unanimously approved the measure in a late-night vote.
Emotional testimony stretched for hours. Some warned it would put Tacoma’s gun stores out of business. Others said it doesn’t go far enough. Many who spoke saw it as a misplaced effort to stop crime by punishing responsible gun owners.
Kirk Foreman was one of them. He survived a mass shooting in the Tacoma Mall in 2005.
“Actions like this tax being proposed only provide income barriers for low-income individuals of this community and individuals in this room who are looking to train and be proficient in firearms for personal protection,” Foreman said.
The tax adds a $25 fee on each firearm sold in the city, and 2 to 5 cents on each round. It will be used to fund gun violence prevention efforts.
Those in favor of the tax, such as nurse Katie Scherling, say it’s only fair that gun owners pay for the cost of gun violence.
“In this year, I have treated victims of gun-related domestic violence, victims of unintentional shootings, many of these injuries caused by legally purchased firearms,” Scherling said.
In response to concerns, the council decided to push back the effective date until the summer, in order to give the city more time to study the impacts of the tax.
Before voting yes, Mayor Victoria Woodard acknowledged that the majority of people who came to the meeting were against the measure.
"And we are not disregarding what you said, but I want you to understand that who's in this room are not the only people that shared their thoughts and opinions with us about this issue," Woodards said.