Bill proposes gun, ammo sales tax holiday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Alabama could soon have another sales tax holiday – this one on guns and ammunition purchases.

Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, has filed legislation – House Bill 559 – to create an annual state sales tax holiday for the purchase of guns, ammunition and firearm accessories.

“The reason why guns and ammo prices have skyrocketed is because of the threats from the Obama administration on gun control,” Nordgren said to other media outlets. “And of course, in Alabama, we hold our Second Amendment rights very dear.

“It would relieve some of those rising costs for the purchasers in our state,” she said. “It fits in perfectly with the announcement about Remington Arms coming to Huntsville.”

Alabama currently has tax holidays for back-to-school shopping and severe weather preparedness.

The firearms tax holiday would waive the state’s 4 percent sales tax on guns, ammunition and firearm supplies from Friday through Sunday prior to July 4th each year.

Nordgren said “holding a firearms sales tax holiday at the anniversary of our nation’s birth is the perfect to celebrate our rights and independence.”

She said tourism dollars would help to make up for the sales tax holiday as customers from other states flock to Alabama for the tax break.

“Some Congressional Democrats have proposed federal legislation that would double the 11 percent tax on handguns and impose a 50 percent tax on shells and cartridges,” Nordgren said. “I think we could have some guns shows maybe that same Independence Day weekend or week, we can attract customers from other states, we can give a break to our citizens on their guns and ammo purchases. I’m excited about it.”

There are 22 representatives listed as co-sponsors on the bill and Rep. Nordgren expects that list to grow.

With only 11 days left in the legislative session, it will be hard to get it passed this year; however, Nordgren hopes to get it before a house committee next week.

The firearms tax holiday is not a new concept. Records show that one was proposed in Texas this time last year, and South Carolina has had a tax-free event for guns since 2008.

Local business owner Bobby Townsend, who recently opened Bobby’s Guns and Ammunition, said the idea is a great one – but he does have some reservations.

“It’s about demand,” Townsend said. “It’s already hard to keep up stock with demand the way it is now. I have a good supply, but I’d rather see them use tax dollars to make ammunition easier to get by increasing the supply. Then, everyone gets more tax dollars because there’s more on the shelves to sell.”