Litigation: Seattle’s Gun Tax & Mark Malkowski of Stag Arms

Seattle’s so-called gun violence tax

In Washington State, King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson has upheld the City of Seattle’s so-called gun violence tax, dismissing arguments that the tax, adopted last summer, exceeded the city’s authority under state preemption law.
The ordinance, which takes effect next month, adds $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city, plus 2 or 5 cents per round of ammunition, depending on the type. Officials expect it to raise up to $500,000 a year “to help offset the costs of gun violence.” I think they didn’t study economics. City officials also called the measure a “commonsense step.”

An appeal is expected.

Mark Malkowski of Stag Arms LLC

Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms LLC of New Britain, CT, entered a guilty plea in federal court in Hartford, CT, on the company’s behalf to a felony charge of possession of 62 machine guns or receivers not registered to the company. Licensed manufacturers are required to stamp a unique serial number on each machine gun and register it with ATF within one business day of receiver manufacture. Stag Arms is one of the larger manufacturers of AR-15 rifles in the US.

Malkowski and the company agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, have its license revoked without challenge, to not challenge the revocation of its license in court, to sell Stag and never own another gun company again.

In New Haven federal court, Malkowski was expected to plead guilty himself to a misdemeanor charge of failure to maintain proper firearm records, which could bring a year in prison. As part of that plea, he’ll agree to pay a fine of $100,000.

Inspections last year by ATF agents found dozens of unregistered machine guns or machine gun parts. Investigators said more than 3,000 guns were transferred by the company without being property recorded. Note that this whole case was primarily about the timing of the record keeping, not about any illegal weapons or criminal activity. I understand it is not unusual for a gun dealer to lose his FFL over sloppy record keeping.

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