Lawmakers want a sales-tax holiday for gun buyers
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
12/30/09 at 4:18 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Two Democratic state lawmakers want a sales-tax holiday on the purchase of guns.
Sen. John Sparks of Norman and Rep. Wes Hilliard of Sulphur have introduced Senate Bill 1322, also called the "Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday Act."
The legislation would set a sales-tax-free period on handguns, rifles or shotguns starting at 12:01 a.m. on the third Friday in August until midnight the next Sunday.
Sparks said Tuesday that the proposed date could be changed.
He said he wants to talk with interested parties to determine the most appropriate time for the sales-tax holiday.
The measure would be effective starting next year and would expire in 2014 unless the expiration date is extended, Sparks said.
The set time span is intended to let officials assess the measure's impact, he said.
Sparks and Hilliard said the measure could be revenue-neutral because associated purchases, such as scopes and ammunition, which would be taxed, would increase.
Oklahoma is facing a revenue failure for the current fiscal year and expects to have 20 percent less to spend next fiscal year because of declining revenue.
"I thought it was a perfect way to reduce the barrier to exercising our Second Amendment rights and saw no reason to delay trying to implement the new law," Sparks said. "Recessions come and go. There will always be an excuse to not do something like this."
But Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he doesn't believe that sales taxes are a barrier to people who want to buy guns.
"I don't see how this would be a big incentive to go out and purchase additional firearms and buy ammunition," he said.
Now could be a bad time for the measure, Johnson said.
"I would think that in light of the billion-dollar challenge we have — and it is not just this year, it is the next two years — any measure that would reduce revenues to the state would probably be very hard to consider," he said.
The state has a back-to-school sales-tax holiday during the first weekend of August on clothing and shoes priced at less than $100.
Barbara Hoberock (405) 528-2465
SHOOTING FOR TAX RELIEF
Sen. John Sparks (left) and Rep. Wes Hilliard: Sparks said their "Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday Act" is "a perfect way to reduce the barrier to exercising our Second Amendment rights."