Two members of the Los Angeles City Council are proposing a tax on gun and ammunition sales, similar to a measure recently adopted in Seattle.
Councilman Paul Krekorian said the tax revenue could fund programs to curb gun violence.
“There are mass shootings daily in this country, many of which could be stopped by sound policies and better gun violence prevention programs,” Krekorian said.
He said the gun tax proposal that he and fellow Councilman Paul Koretz are proposing is “another important step” the city could take to address gun violence.
The Los Angeles City Council recently adopted a ban on the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and is expected to vote soon on whether to require handgun owners to keep their firearms in locked containers, Krekorian said.
He and Koretz are proposing a tax — which would need voter approval — that would go directly into the general fund, but could later be allocated to gun violence prevention programs, according to Krekorian aide Ian Thompson.
He said if a tax measure would requires that revenue be designated for a specific purpose,
super-majority approval from two-thirds of voters would be needed. That’s a higher bar than the simple majority approval needed for taxes designed to go into the general fund.
The Krekorian-Koretz motion — seconded by Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson — asks city analysts to study whether a Los Angeles tax on gun and ammunition purchases would be feasible, along with a tally of businesses and patrons that would be affected by the tax.
Their motion references a gun tax measure adopted recently by the Seattle City Council that imposes a $25 tax for each gun purchased, and 2- or 5- cents-per-ammunition round.
The Seattle tax is projected to generate up to $500,000 annually, all of which is will go to programs aimed at curbing gun violence. Seattle’s tax measure also includes a requirement that gun owners report lost or stolen weapons.
Seattle’s gun tax was adopted in August and is set to go into effect in January, but legal challenges from gun rights groups are expected.
The Los Angeles gun tax motion, which is assigned to the Public Safety and Budget and Finance committees, also calls for Los Angeles Police Department officials to report back on the effectiveness of existing requirements that gun owners report lost or stolen guns to police, as well as existing taxes on firearm and ammunition sales.