Measure could lead to tax-free holiday for gun sales in Missouri

The Show Me State could become the fourth in the nation to adopt an annual tax holiday for purchases of firearms.

The proposal, pre-filed for the 2016 session by state Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, would drop the state’s sales tax requirements for gun purchases but — unlike in other states — not affect sales of ammo or shooting accessories.

“The one (bill) I’m most excited about is creating a tax holiday for new gun purchases the Saturday following the Fourth of July,” said Taylor, the Springfield News-Leader reported. “You know, making it more affordable for all Missourians to purchase a firearm to protect themselves or their families if they decide.”

Taylor’s legislation, HB 1901, if approved in its current form, would drop the state and any local taxes on gun sales made during the annual one-day holiday. Set to take effect in 2017, the bill has a sunset clause that would end the measure after six years if not extended.

Taylor contends the move could help save lives by making guns more attainable for self-defense. “We’ve seen some recent mass shootings, and there are Missourians who desire to protect their families if the need arises and may not be able to afford it, so I think as a Legislature we should try to do everything we can to make sure it more affordable,” Taylor said.

Not all are pleased with the concept. “There has been no outcry for this,” said state Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, who contends it will take funds from schools and public health care. “It actually puts a damper on local communities who depend on sales tax revenues, with no thought to how that would affect the communities that would be getting obviously less sales taxes.”

According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the first state to implement one of these holidays was South Carolina in 2008. That year the Palmetto State saw a 650 percent increase in one-day sales. Since then similar legislation has been introduced in no less than nine other states including Louisiana who adopted a holiday in 2011.

Last September, Mississippi kicked off its first annual Second Amendment sales tax holiday because of legislation introduced during the 2013 session and signed into law by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant after receiving wide support in the state legislature. The measure implemented the annual three-day period in which the state’s normally mandatory seven percent sales tax is not collected on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and hunting supplies and has seen sales skyrocket during the grace period.

A two-bill proposal in Tennessee deadlocked in committee earlier this year despite early support while proposals in Texas passed the state senate and house in May but never made it past final committees to reach the governor in time for signature.