Politics & Government

Texas Senate OK’s sales tax holiday for guns and ammo

Duck hunting

Texas hunters, a new holiday may be on the horizon for you.

A sales tax holiday, that is.

The Texas Senate on Thursday passed state Sen. Brandon Creighton’s “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday Act” to let Texans have a tax-free weekend of shopping for guns, ammo and hunting supplies.

“Providing this sales tax break prior to the start of hunting season will be an economic driver for small businesses and will provide our hunters much-deserved savings,” said Creighton, R-Conroe. “I am pleased to encourage and promote gunmanship and to improve opportunities for all Texans to enjoy their Second Amendment rights.”

If approved by the House and signed off on by Gov. Greg Abbott, this sales tax holiday would join those already in place, such as one for back-to-school shopping, which is scheduled for Aug. 7-9.

The Second Amendment holiday would fall on the last full weekend in August, just in time for the fall hunting season that begins Sept. 1.

Among the items Texans could buy tax free that weekend: firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, firearm cleaning supplies, hunting blinds and stands, hunting optics, hunting safety equipment and hunting decoys, according to the bill.

Differing opinions

Critics have said this gives preferential treatment to one group of Texans.

“I didn’t know the state was doing so well that we are just giving out new sales tax holidays,” said Marsha McCartney, president of the Texas chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “If we are, why not give it to other groups of Texans as well?

“I love to read, so I’d love to have a tax-free day to books. How about one for people who go to nurseries and buy flowers?” she said. “It’s troubling that [the legislature isn’t] really tackling the real problems we have in Texas.”

Supporters, such as the National Rifle Association and Texas State Rifle Association, disagree.

“This bill supports lawful gun ownership and encourages Texas sportsmen and their families to spend their money here at home,” said Tara Mica, state liaison for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Other proposals

An identical bill in the House, by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, has been left pending in the House Ways and Means Committee.

A similar bill by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee and could soon reach the House floor for consideration. This proposal would give Texas hunters two new sales tax holidays — at the beginning of dove- and deer-hunting seasons — for those buying firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment.

Other nearby states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, have similar tax exemptions in place for those buying guns, ammunition and certain hunting supplies.

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley