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Lawmakers mull tax holiday on guns, ammo

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers are considering a two-day sales tax exemption for guns and ammunition in honor of “Second Amendment Weekend” which would come just before fall hunting seasons.

Some said fear over revenue loss might derail the bill, which was filed by Rep. Warner McBride, D-Courtland. It has 39 co-sponsors. The House Ways and Means Committee hasn’t taken up the bill.

The legislation would waive sales taxes on rifles, shotguns, handguns and ammunition on Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

The National Rifle Association and some hunting groups support “Second Amendment Weekends” which Louisiana and South Carolina have enacted. Sporting goods stores in Louisiana reported a boost during the tax holiday, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Rep. Dirk Dedeaux, D-Sellers, a co-sponsor of the bill, said Mississippi might be able to attract out-of-state shoppers on Second Amendment Weekend because they could find big savings on gun and ammo purchases just before several fall hunting seasons open. Dedeaux hopes they would also buy other hunting supplies that wouldn’t be covered by the sales tax exemption, which might create more revenue.

“It’s a significant savings for anybody that takes advantage of it,” Dedeaux said. “Our logic is Mississippi has borders all around us and hopefully, we would be a destination for people to come and get stocked up.”

Dedeaux said he would prefer it only apply to ammunition, which he suspects would be the most popular item, instead of guns sales. He and others also said they might favor an amendment putting a limit on the size of the purchase that would qualify for the tax break.

In 2009, Mississippi joined more than a dozen other states offering sales tax holidays, when it exempted clothes and footwear priced under $100 for a weekend. Advocates at the time said Mississippi was losing shoppers to neighboring states that already had the sales tax holidays in place for back-to-school shoppers.

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