Arizona Republicans in the state House have introduced a proposal to stop collecting sales taxes on firearms and related safety equipment.
The measure, HB 2166, was introduced last week by state Rep. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, and has four co-sponsors. As detailed by the Arizona Daily Star, the state has a 5.6-percent tax on retail sales that, combined with local taxes, can hit a combined rate as high as 11.2 percent in some communities. This, Kaiser told local media, can be a deterrent to purchasing a firearm, “And cost should not be a barrier to defend your family, your property,’’ said Kaiser.
According to the bill's text, sales of firearms and safety equipment – with the latter category including gun safes, cases, and lockboxes – would be exempt from sales taxes. Arizona already has standing exemptions on the books for sales of cash and metal bullion, aircraft, telecommunication equipment to those in the communication industry, and some types of specialized machinery.
At least four states already have limited exemptions from collecting sales tax on firearms, ammunition, and some related equipment via the use of so-called 2A or Outdoor Sporting Goods tax holidays. First adopted in South Carolina in 2008, the practice has expanded to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, according to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. Meanwhile, Maine and Texas have recently adopted sales tax exemptions for gun safes and similar safety equipment, joining Tennessee and Virginia.
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.