Gun shop owner: Tacoma City Council protects criminals, fights businesses

Oct 31, 2019, 5:17 AM

For Dan Davies, the owner of Mary’s Pistols, one Tacoma City Council measure could mean the death of his livelihood.

That measure is the city’s proposed tax on firearm sales — $25 per gun, 2 cents per round of ammunition up to .22 caliber, and 5 cents per round of ammunition greater than that amount. The council was supposed to vote on it at Tuesday night’s council meeting — a full house due to both gun rights and gun control advocates — but the council postponed the vote until Nov. 12 to consider it further.

The city council has praised the tax as a way to save lives — but Davies sees it as a way to kill businesses.

“I think I realistically would be forced to close,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

Dori: Tacoma gun tax is gov. deciding what businesses are acceptable

Moving a gun shop takes a lot of time and effort because of the many licenses required, and closing his shop for the duration of the paperwork period would not be feasible.

He is not the only business owner who fears this. Firearm manufacturer Aero Precision is a large employer in Tacoma, providing jobs to hundreds of people. He told the city council he worries for his employees if this tax passes.

While the tax could greatly impact businesses, Davies said that it will have much less of an effect on those who make guns a danger in the first place — the violent criminals. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see the city getting to the root of the problem.

“They can’t or won’t take them away from the criminals threatening our society,” he said. “It won’t fight crime at all — all it will do is force the gun shops out of Tacoma.”

As an example, he pointed to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and New Orleans — cities with tough gun laws that still have high rates of gun violence.

The tax, he said, centers around the city government’s hatred of guns.

“The city council wants the gun shops gone from Tacoma,” he said. “It’s not about helping people in need, it’s not about addressing the mental health problems, it’s about getting rid of the gun shops — and the Tacoma City Council admitted that last night.”

He speculates that the postponement has to do with waiting until after council elections next week. Hoards of gun rights advocates showed up to Tuesday night’s meeting.

“The city council has to recognize that they’re making a hugely unpopular decision here,” he said. “Since everything is arranged behind closed doors anyway with the Tacoma City Council, they’re going to pass it.”

As a hardworking business owner of 14 years, Davies feels betrayed by his local government. He said that his shop pays $90,000 in sales and B&O taxes per year.

“It’s very disturbing that these people are willing to pick on me in such an illegal manner,” he said. “You can’t tax a right.”

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Gun shop owner: Tacoma City Council protects criminals, fights businesses