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Will Los Angeles Tax Guns, Ammo?


 Los Angeles considers gun/ammunition tax similar to Seattle's.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council passed gun violence legislation that imposes a $25 tax per firearm sold at retail and an up to 5-cent tax per round of ammunition sold. The new tax will not take effect until January 1, 2016, but already it is inspiring at least one other city to do the same.

Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian have introduced a measure that would add $25 to the price of every gun sold in the city. Ammunition would be taxed between 2- and 5-cents per round, depending on the type.

Both men recognize that the taxes won’t stop gun violence. However, they argue that revenue generated by the taxes could fund essential violence prevention programs. The motion reads, in part:

“While local, state and federal governments discuss ways to stop [gun violence], it is apparent that funding for gun violence education is needed. …

While taxing the sales of firearms and ammunition will not prevent gun violence on its own, funding gun violence prevention programs could prove to be an initial step in creating a larger policy to save lives throughout the City and the nation as a whole. With the majority of gun related deaths being suicide or a combination of homicide and suicide, prevention programs may be able to reach those contemplating such measures.”

The proposed tax would need to be approved by a super-majority (2/3) of Los Angeles voters. Prior to being put on the ballot, city analysts must determine whether or not a tax on gun and ammunition sales is feasible, and how many businesses and patrons would be affected by such a tax.

As Los Angeles considers implementing new taxes on guns and ammunition, Seattle is preparing to go to court to defend its new guns and ammunition tax — it’s being challenged by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and several individuals and independent gun shops.


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.