According to Todd Sarotte, the manager of Van’s Sporting Goods in Brandon, Mississippi, this weekend’s Second Amendment celebration — firearms and related accessories are exempt from the state’s 7 percent sales tax through midnight Sunday — is the biggest of the year for him: “It’s actually bigger for us than Black Friday. It’s grown every year, and for the last two years it’s been bigger than Black Friday for us.”
The exemption saves a buyer of a Glock semi-automatic pistol nearly $40 while a purchaser of a Stag Arms Model 3 Typhoon AR-15 saves more than $60 in sales tax. That’s enough to draw buyers from nearby states as well as Mississippians. Louisiana has a 5 percent sales tax, Arkansas’ sales tax is 6.5 percent, Tennessee levies a 7 percent sales tax, while Alabama’s sales tax is 4 percent.
Louisiana has a similar Second Amendment celebration next weekend.
Enacted three years ago to stimulate sales of hunting equipment, supplies and accessories in time for hunting season, it exempts not only firearms but ammunition, scopes and mounts, gun cases, slings and most archery equipment from the tax. Interestingly, gun safes, which can cost upwards of $10,000, are excluded. But Sarotte says his store won’t charge the sales tax on them as they are typically items with higher margins: “We go ahead and do it anyway”, he said. The savings on a $10,000 gun safe is $700.
Last year gun dealers processed more than 20,000 background checks during the celebration, nearly an 80 percent increase over previous years before the celebration began. That compares to the total of 23,000 background checks that were processed in all of last November which was a record for the state.
Five states without a sales tax celebrate the Second Amendment every day: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Which raises this question: Why aren’t more states adopting this way not only to generate business but to celebrate Americans’ right to “keep and bear” arms? After all, in order to enjoy that right one has to own one first!
In fact why isn’t the Second Amendment celebrated every day in every state by permanently exempting them from sales tax? It would redound in lower crime rates, less gun violence, lower law enforcement costs, fewer hospital visits, and in general a safer environment for all citizens.
This writer searched for comments from anti-gunners about this celebration, and they are strangely quiet. Nothing was heard from Seattle either, the progressive city that recently levied a special “gun violence” tax on firearms and ammunition designed to offset some of the $17 million the city spent in treating 253 gunshot victims at its Harborview Medical Center in 2014. Perhaps if gun ownership were encouraged there instead of excoriated, there might be fewer gunshot victims to treat.
In any event, gun dealers have ramped up their offerings in Mississippi with reps from several gun manufacturers putting up displays and offering additional discounts to the crowds coming in to celebrate the day, and the freedom. When the weekend is over, they’ll pack up and move to Louisiana for another celebration next weekend.