Business hasn’t exactly been slow for gun store owners in the Louisiana for the past few months, but it’s likely to be even busier than normal this weekend. That’s because the state’s “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday” is underway through Sunday evening, offering gun buyers a chance to save a little bit of money on firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies.
Firearms eligible for the sales tax exemption include shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers or other handguns which may be legally sold or purchased in Louisiana. Ammunition fired from a gun or firearm is also eligible for the tax exemption.
Hunting supplies are eligible for the tax exemption include:
• Archery items such as bows, crossbows, arrows, quivers and shafts
• Optics such as rifle scopes and impact resistant glasses for shooting
• Hearing protection gear and enhancements
The sales tax holiday was first put in place in the state several years ago, but nearly disappeared in 2019 amid efforts to plug holes in the state’s budget deficit. During the back-and-forth dealmaking on a new sales tax rate, lawmakers in Baton Rouge decided to scrap all three of the state’s sales tax holidays; one dealing with emergency preparedness, one for back-to-school supplies, and the weekend reserved for Second Amendment and hunting-related items.
Republicans pushed back with legislation to reinstate the sales tax holiday, and thankfully for Second Amendment supporters their efforts were successful. Neil Riser, then a state senator and now a state representative, was among those advocating for the tax holiday’s return.
It’s Republican Sen. Riser who is pushing the legislation, not so much as pro-gun measure, though he is very pro-gun, but as an economic development idea. He acknowledges that while the gun holiday results in little revenue, the sales that are made are vital to his hometown’s remaining retailers who operate on narrow profit margins.
Columbia is the jumping off point for many a hunting trip into the 51,000-acre Boeuf Wildlife Management Area. Owned by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Boeuf is known for ducks, deer and wild pigs. For local merchants, the sales tax holiday accounted for a significant boost in hunters visiting Columbia and making purchases, not all of which are guns.
Sales taxes have multiplier of seven, Riser said, meaning that every dollar spent in one establishment is used to pay wages or buy more stuff at some other local business. “It’s a huge impact for us,” he said.
“It may not mean much in places like Baton Rouge,” said Riser, who will handle HB60 in the Senate, “but for the local Chevron and Quick Mart, it’s an economic driver.”
So it’s not just gun owners who benefit from the small discount on guns, ammunition, and accessories this weekend. Retailers that have nothing at all to do with gun sales get an economic boost as well.
Of course the big question is whether or not gun stores in Louisiana will have much to offer customers this weekend. With gun and ammunition sales still at record highs, shelves may be sparse this year, but I suspect that gun shops will still be a little busier than they have been as folks go looking for a deal.