An Ohio measure would allow those buying firearms and ammunition over the counter to keep a little more of their money.
The legislation is one of the first of its kind, offering a specific sales tax exemption for items protected under the Second Amendment. While some states like Mississippi have "2A Holidays," which carve out one weekend per year to allow buyers to avoid paying state sales taxes, Ohio's carve-out would be year-round.
“This bill is an important way to promote our rights while also helping Ohio businesses and consumers," said state Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, sponsor of the bill. "Rights guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights should not be taxed.”
Cutrona's proposal has some basis in existing Ohio law. In 1935, the state exempted newspapers from sales taxes under 1st Amendment grounds, an exemption that is still in place. The Buckeye State currently mandates a 7.17 percent sales tax, ranking it in 21st place nationally according to the Tax Foundation, a tax policy nonprofit.
Guns and ammunition are already one of the most taxed and regulated retail goods in the country. Since 1937, the Pittman–Robertson Act levies a 10-to-11 percent excise tax on all firearms and ammunition sold or imported into the county to perform conservation-related tasks as varied as restoring elk habitat, funding safety programs, and establishing public shooting ranges. Since its induction, the firearm industry has paid a whopping $14.1 billion into the fund via the mandatory taxes.
Cutrona's plans to introduce his measure in coming weeks. Of the 45 states that collect retail sales taxes, only West Virginia has a specific exemption for small arms and ammunition, adopted earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in related news, the Ohio state Senate voted 23-7 to pass SB 185, which guarantees firearm rights remain protected during emergencies such as riots and disasters.
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