Spokane City Council President, Ben Stuckart, seeks to institute a $20 per firearm purchase tax and additional taxes on ammunition. His misguided attempt to prevent gun violence has proven ineffective and even dangerous in other areas.
Like others in the political class that gave us Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown and Jay Inslee, Stuckart refuses to learn from practical experience. New gun taxes from careless politicians do not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Crime rates often rise and guns are traced to neighboring areas that have more lax gun laws.
A Lesson Across the Cascades
In 2015, Seattle’s City Council implemented a $25 tax on each gun purchase, alongside similar fines for purchasing ammo. Did it work? Statistics said otherwise. Shootings in the Emerald City went up by 30% after the tax was in affect. Additionally, police phone calls about firearm violence increased by 17%.
Moreover, the government generated only one third the amount they expected to make in gun tax revenues, according to Fox News. Firearm buyers and sellers instead took their business outside the city limits.
Failure in Chicago
Cook County, Illinois—home of Chicago—has a similar $25 tax on firearm purchases. The city is also infamous for having some of the highest crime rates in the nation. A Northwestern University study shows that 60% of guns used in gang-related crime were purchased from out-of-state. For non-gang crimes, 31.6% of firearms came from outside of Illinois.
Chicago is close to the state border with Indiana, which has much laxer firearm laws. It’s no surprise that 30% of guns from out of state used in gang-affiliated crime and 20% of those from out of state used in non-gang criminal activities in the Windy City come from Indiana. Idaho, one of the most conservative and gun friendly states in the nation, is only a 15-20 minute drive east of Spokane.
Just as notably, both Seattle and Chicago lay in blue (Democrat) counties. Spokane, on the other hand, is only blue-leaning as a city and the county itself is heavily red.
Second Amendment Sanctuary City
Last year, two Spokane Valley Councilmen introduced a resolution to make it a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary City.’
“I supported it because I believe government begins at home, in cities and counties.” Valley City Councilman Ed Pace told UnCut Report (UCR) in a Facebook interview. “If state and federal governments restrict constitutional rights, cities need to stand up for their residents and protect their rights.”
The resolution was never implemented, but it shows the kind of thinking that Stuckart is competing with. Should his gun tax pass, businesses can easily move next door to Spokane Valley or outside the city limits and into the very red county.
Stuckart’s reign as Council President has been a total failure. The city’s debt doubled in large part thanks to his aggressive push for more funding towards public safety programs. The police department’s budget also grew by almost 16% from 2014 to 2018. However, crime is still a huge problem in Spokane.
The FBI ranked the Lilac City as the second most dangerous town in Washington in its 2018 list. Its violent crime rate was worse than Seattle and about twice as high as neighboring Spokane Valley; the proposed 2nd Amendment sanctuary city.
Two years earlier, Safewise named Spokane as the 22nd least safe city in the entire country. Following the trend, Stuckart’s gun law could do more harm for the citizens of Spokane than good.
Despite it all, Stuckart keeps asking for more power. Even after failing to learn from others’ mistakes and his own as City Council President, Stuckart thinks he should be promoted to mayor.
Why Trust the Politicians?
The Council President has other achievements that remind us of the current political establishment’s shortcomings across the nation. The City Council had over $300 million missing from their annual budget. What’s worse is that the Washington State Auditor’s Office reported it as an improvement from previous years.
Stuckart wants the $20-per-firearm purchase tax revenues to go towards mental health. But why should he be trusted with that money? Would it end up with the large pile of missing funds? Or will it be just another one of Stuckart’s public safety programs? Millions of dollars poured in without delivering any significant results.
Likewise, when Hillary Clinton supported a national 25% tax on firearm sales, how would she have spent that revenue if she was the President of the United States?
As Secretary of State, she spent $450,000 towards a standup comedy tour in India titled ‘Make Chai Not War.’ Another $630,000 was spent on more ‘likes’ on the State Department’s Facebook page, according to a report by the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG). To top it off, $5.4 million dollars went towards fancy silverware and wine glasses.
Moreover, Stuckart and Clinton have more in common than just their gun control obsessions and formal reports that highlight their incompetence. When the State of Washington audited Spokane’s budget, they stressed that the city did not follow federal accounting standards. What private email server? What federal record-keeping standards?
Thanks but No Thanks
Gun violence is a problem that society needs to address. But is the current approach working? Trial and error has proven that gun control laws don’t lead to a safer society. The irony in it all is that both Hillary Clinton and Ben Stuckart failed to follow federal rules when performing their duties. For some reason, they expect criminals to follow their gun control laws.
Original article link: https://ucrep.com/ben-stuckart-spokane-wa-gun-tax/
Haitham al Mhana is a contributor at the DailyLead.