Judge Rules Against Seattle in Gun Tax Public Records Case

A King County Superior Court judge on Friday ruled in favor of the Second Amendment Foundation and the senior editor of its monthly publication, TheGunMag.com, in a lawsuit against the City of Seattle over violation of the Public Records Act (PRA).

Judge Lori K. Smith issued her decision from the bench, according to Seattle attorney Steven Fogg, who represented the plaintiffs. She held that the city had not acted in bad faith, so a nominal penalty was assessed. But Fogg said via e-mail that “Judge Smith’s ruling establishes that the City should have disclosed the information to the public when we asked for it. By fighting us needlessly, they now have to pay a penalty and our attorney fees, not to mention their own attorney time (they had two City attorneys assigned to this).”

The lawsuit was filed in September of last year after the city repeatedly refused to release revenue figures on how much it had collected under the controversial 2015 “gun violence tax.” The city had argued that it would violate the privacy of firearms retailers in the city to disclose even an aggregate revenue figure.

But Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, contended that the real reason the city was reluctant to disclose the revenue figure was because it fell far short of the forecast of $300,000 to $500,000 annually.