Exclusive: $25 Gun Tax Hasn’t Hurt Sales In Chicago

Seattle is implementing a $25 gun tax. The NRA are furious, but the same tax in Chicago saw gun sales rise

Aug 11, 2015 at 3:46 PM ET

The NRA has claimed a new $25 firearm tax in Seattle will drive business out of the city but a similar tax introduced in Chicago has not affected gun sales, Vocativ has learned.

Cook County in Illinois, which covers much of Chicago, became the first county in the U.S. to introduce such a tax on April 1, 2013, but figures retrieved from the Cook County Government reveal taxes earned from gun sales are actually on the rise.

It was estimated the tax, collected by firearm sellers, would generate $600,000 in 2013. Figures show it actually generated $490,000 that year, but rose to $900,000 in 2014. The tax is expected to generate a further $950,000 by the end of 2015.

That represents about 38,000 guns legally purchased in Cook County in 2015, although a Cook County spokesperson said a portion of the revenues may have been collected from late payment fees and other fines.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who oversees the second most populous county in the U.S., introduced the tax in an effort to help fund the Cook County Health and Hospitals System. It costs roughly $52,000 to treat a gunshot victim at Stroger Hospital, the County’s flagship hospital—Chicago reported more than 2,500 shootings in 2014. Preckwinkle was forced to drop a five cents bullet tax, which forms part of a similar tax unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council on Monday.

The tax will be added on top of the federal Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax, which levies 10 percent on the sale price of pistols and revolvers and 11 percent on guns other than pistols and revolvers, and shells or cartridges, together with the city sales tax of 9.5 percent.

Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess said the revenues from the gun violence tax will be spent on prevention programs and research intended to reduce the burden of gun violence on Seattle residents and neighborhoods.

A study on gun safety in Seattle found taxpayers footed $12 million (70 percent) of all direct medical costs from gunshot wounds in 2014. The City Budget Office estimated the gun violence tax will raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.