It's A Good Time To Buy Guns, Ammo In West Virginia

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

While the state of Virginia has turned rather anti-gun of late, they have a neighbor that’s anything but. West Virginia split off from the Old Dominion State over their opposition to succession, and it seems the two states are still divided by more than just a border. After all, West Virginians are rather fond of their gun rights.

In fact, they’re so fond of them, the state won’t charge sales tax on guns and ammo.

Starting July 1, all small firearms and ammunition bought in West Virginia will no longer contain a sales tax.

“If you are going to buy that $2,000 riffle, it’s going to be $120 cheaper here in West Virginia than compared to our neighboring states,” said Delegate Gary Howell, (R) District 56.

This law was formed in House Bill 2499, which was passed during this year’s legislative session to promote business by exempting sales taxes for consumers.

With more than 5 million first-time new gun owners in just 2020, gun stores like this in West Virginia hope to continue the trend in sales.

“It’s definitely going to spike gun sales for the foreseeable future. Then after that, I think it will steadily increase in terms of your mid and high-range arms. So, I think over the long term that it will defiantly be a boost in business,” said Taylor Collins, gun and ammo salesman for Bridgeport.

This same bill also provides tax credits for gun and ammo manufacturers in the state, which may well attract more than a few.

See, there’s being pro-gun and then there’s being really pro-gun, apparently.

Honestly, this is smart for so many reasons. First, there’s the economics of it. Gun sales are through the roof across the nation, so why not make your state more attractive to this growing market by making it cheaper to get a gun in your state? People crossing the border to buy a gun–they’ll still be subject to gun laws in their home state–aren’t likely to just get a gun, unless it’s a trip of only a few miles. Most will make trip of it. They’ll grab a bite to eat, maybe do a bit more shopping, then grab some gas for the trip home.

They’ll spend more money in West Virginia and all of those other purchases require sales tax.

Even if they just buy the guns, it’s a boost for the gun stores, who can then hire more employees who will, in turn, spend money. There’s really not much of a downside to this that I can see.

Unless, of course, you run one of those gun stores on the other side of the border. If that’s the case, competition is going to get a lot harder, and you do have my sympathy. Your best bet to compete would be to lobby your legislature to pass a similar law, thus removing the incentive for people to go to West Virginia to buy their guns.

I’m doubtful that some states will go that far, but that’s about all you can do.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET