MS hunters to get tax free weekend
by Paisley Boston
Mar 02, 2014 | 3169 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hunters and gun enthusiast across the state will be allowed to purchase guns and ammunition Sept. 5-7 without paying sales tax, during Mississippi’s first Sportsmen Weekend.

Senate Bill 2425 will exempt sales tax on retail sales of firearms, ammunition and a host of other hunting supplies.

The purpose of the bill is to encourage sportsmen to purchase firearms and hunting supplies in Mississippi.

"We attempted to put an amendment into the bill that would exempt sales tax on groceries. We usually do things like this when children are returning back to school," said Sen. Willie Simmons.

"This bill also applies to the purchase of gun permits. Individuals who hunt and purchase hunting equipment will be happy to have those savings," he added.

"If you are spending $300 for a gun, then you will not have to pay seven cents on that $300. It will probably encourage individuals to purchase sporting equipment," he continued.

According to Simmons, there is no limitation on the amount of guns or ammunition that can be purchased during Sportsmen Weekend.

"The way the bill was passed, this exemption applies to any and all establishments that sell guns, ammunition and sporting supplies. Individuals will be allowed to even purchase guns and ammunition from pawn shops without paying the sales tax," said Simmons.

"I think that the senate chose the month of September because this is when people are getting ready to gear up for hunting season," he added.

The National Rifle Association supports the bill.

The NRA promotes shooting sport events among youth and it is affiliated with groups such as 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, Royal Rangers and the National High School Rodeo Association.

According to Simmons, although the bill may be beneficial to hunters, it will not aid the state's economy.

"This bill will not really help the economy of Mississippi. It will only help the local businesses. It does not put money into the state treasure because the taxes are excluded," he continued.

Simmons said Mississippi generates money from the percentage of sales tax collected and during Sportsmen Weekend, the state will not benefit.

"While we may be giving the hunters an opportunity to save, we are also taking money away from the state. Individuals may have to travel on a bad highway or bridge because we don’t have the money," said Simmons.

"Anytime we do an exemption, that means that we are taking more dollars out of the treasury, which means that we have fewer dollars to spend on things that we so desperately need," he added.

According to Simmons, Mississippi has a great need for resources such as better highways and the educational system.

"We may be helping a particular section of individuals but there are other things that need to be taken care of. Personally I do not hunt so I will not be able to benefit from it," he continued.

The bill has also passed the Mississippi House of Representatives and awaits the governor’s signature before becoming law.