Gun store moves out of Seattle to avoid city’s new gun tax

Jan 4, 2016, 1:48 PM | Updated: 2:03 pm

He told the City of Seattle he would do it, and now he’s making good on his word. Beginning Jan. 1, Seattle’s Precise Shooter gun store stopped selling firearms and ammo. And now the owner is moving the store out of town.

Sergey Solyanik, owner of Precise Shooter on Aurora Avenue, is closing his gun shop and moving it to Lynnwood after a recent court ruling gave Seattle approval to impose a tax on gun sales. Solyanik opposed the tax and has argued it would harm his business.

“It would make us unprofitable,” he said. “I calculated it by retroactively applying the tax to our existing sales — I’m a software developer, so I can do that — and we would be operating at a loss for the entire store.”

Solyanik threatened to take his business elsewhere if the city moved forward with the tax. He’s now proving it.

Seattle passed a law in 2015 that places a $25 tax for every firearm, and up to 5 cents for each round of ammunition sold within the city. It was opposed by local gun advocates and the NRA, and taken to court. In December, a King County judge sided with the city and the tax was allowed to go into effect at the start of 2016.

Related: Seattle City Council unanimously approves gun tax

The tax was spearheaded by Seattle Council Member Tim Burgess, who argued that the gun tax money will go toward research and other means to fight gun violence in the city. He likened the gun tax to other taxes on products such as cigarettes and alcohol. The city has estimated it will take in $300,000 to $500,000 from the gun tax.

Solyanik, on the other hand, has no intention of contributing any tax money to the city.

“We are all disappointed,” he said. “We feel that, basically, a crockpot politician was trying to buttress his ‘progressive’ credentials and we got run over.

“Burgess doesn’t expect any money from this. In fact, there will be a net loss for this city. This location brings in roughly $50,000 in sales tax revenue, so that is all going to be gone next year. And there is not going to be any revenue from the (gun) tax.”

Precise Shooter remains open to sell cleaning supplies and other equipment, but will not sell firearms or ammo that are now taxed in Seattle. Solyanik will operate the shop as such until his business license is approved for a new store in Lynnwood.

Precise Shooter is one of few businesses that specializes in, and primarily sells firearms.

Solyanik likens the gun tax to alcohol consumption, which he argues harms more people in the United States than guns.

“We don’t say that an average person is responsible for the violence fueled by alcohol, but for some reason people feel that gun owners should be held to a different standard than themselves,” he said. “I think people are afraid of things they don’t know and understand and vilify people they don’t know and understand.”

“People who shoot up people in the streets — they don’t come here to get guns. They get them on the streets,” Solyanik said. “It’s just collective punishment for all of us.”

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Gun store moves out of Seattle to avoid city’s new gun tax