Arizona one step closer to ending sales tax for guns

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Guns are expensive. Even a relatively inexpensive Hi-Point is still a three-figure price. When compared to something like a Cabot Arms gun, that’s pocket change, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap when you look at what most people spend on most things.

Then you factor in things like sales tax and it gets even more expensive.

Yet in Arizona, they’re taking steps to make guns that much more affordable.

Arizona lawmakers are moving to make the purchase of guns a bit more affordable.

By a 6-4 margin, the House Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to exempt the sale of firearms from the state’s 5.6% sales tax. Cities also wouldn’t be allowed to tax those sales under the bill, House Bill 2166.

“It’s my view that firearms should not be out of reach of anyone based on income,” Rep. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, told colleagues. “It should be as affordable as possible.”

Also exempt from taxes would be the sale of safety accessories, ranging from gun safes or cases to certain interlocks to prevent a weapon from being fired unless first deactivated by someone who is supposed to have access.

Kaiser said his bill also would end the financial disadvantage of firearms dealers.

“As you know, we have the private sale option in Arizona, which means you can go to a gun show, for example, and buy a private weapon from a private citizen,” he said. “That’s something I will always protect.”

I wish Kaiser hadn’t brought up private sales at gun shows, mostly because it’ll just perpetuate the “gun show loophole” myth.

That said, he’s not wrong. It’ll likely benefit gun stores because now their guns are just that much more competitive and people will be able to know they’re not purchasing a stolen gun.

After all, while it’s not a common problem, when you buy a gun in a face-to-face transfer, you don’t always know if the guy selling it to you really is the lawful owner. Sometimes, the gun you buy turns out to be stolen. I’ve seen it happen, though as I said, it’s rare.

Still, if that’s a concern of yours, a less costly gun store purchase is probably a great way to avoid that problem, so Arizona’s law is going to be a huge benefit.

Plus, since Democrats say they’re all about helping the poor and working-class, they should be thrilled with this measure, right? Especially since some argue that sales tax is a regressive tax.

“I don’t see guns as essential to life,” said Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson. “And I completely disagree with the idea that more guns will save lives.”

Rep. Mitzi Epstein, D-Tempe, said she believes the best form of taxes is one applied to as many items as possible “so we can have a lower rate.” This goes in the opposite direction, she said.

Oh.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised. Democrats have a pronounced tendency to be in favor of policies that they say will help the poor until you do something that might benefit the poor people who don’t agree with them on everything.

Then it’s a problem.

Frankly, I hope to see this measure pass. I’m sure gun stores agree, even if Democrats don’t.