Havasu Guns

Havasu Guns manager Eric Meron speaks with a customer Tuesday afternoon. Since March, gun sellers nationwide have seen a surge in weapon sales following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as protests and violence throughout the country.

PHOENIX — Calling them necessities, a first-term lawmaker wants the same sales tax rate on guns as to the food you buy from the grocery and the prescriptions you get from your pharmacy.

Zero.

“You’ve got massively rising crime rates across the nation,’’ said Rep. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix.

“Everybody knows that,’’ he continued. “It’s pretty well documented.’’

And there are statistics from the FBI showing the number of homicides rose nearly 30% last year, the largest one-year increase since the report has been issued in the 1960s.

At the same time, Kaiser said, there has been a call from some quarters to “defund the police,’’ diverting resources from armed, uniformed officers to other alternatives, though he acknowledged those changes have largely not occurred in Arizona.

But the bottom line, he said, is that people may have more need to protect themselves.

“And cost should not be a barrier to defend your family, your property,’’ said Kaiser.

The cost, he said, can add up.

Take a Glock G42, recently listed at Arizona gun stores at about $440.

The state sales tax is 5.6%. That boosts the cost by about $25.

But that’s not it.

In Pima County, for example, add an additional half cent for the county’s sales tax.

And if the weapon is purchased within the city limits of Tucson, that brings the combined rate up to 8.7%, adding approximately $38 to the out-the-door price.

The numbers go up with the purchase of more expensive weapons.

Want a Patriot Ordnance Factory 01584? That will set you back $2,900 -- plus those state and local taxes.

Will that additional charge be a deciding factor in whether to purchase that gun?

“I think in some cases it might be,’’ Kaiser said. And he said the problem is even more pronounced in communities where the combined rate goes as high as 11.2% as it does in the Pinal County communities of Superior and Mammoth.

Kaiser said his HB 2166, if approved, will make a difference for some.

“I think it will help drive folks that normally couldn’t afford to purchase that to be able to purchase that,’’ he said.

Kaiser has crafted his measure in a way that he believes actually could pick up some support from some Democrats.

First, the sales tax exemption would apply not just to guns but also to what the bill defines as “firearm safety equipment.’’

This includes devices that when installed on a gun prevents it from firing without first being deactivated. It also would cover new electronic interlocks that allow the weapon to be fired only by someone who is authorized to operate it.

There also would be no sales tax on gun safes and other lock boxes designed to allow access only through things like a key, a combination lock or a thumb print.

These have been priorities of gun-safety advocates for years who are looking for ways specifically to prevent children from grabbing an unsecured weapon and killing or injuring themselves or others.

Texas enacted just such a sales tax exemption for safety equipment last year.

And there’s another possible incentive.

Democrats for years have been attempting to get rid of what’s known as the “gun show loophole.’’

Put simply, federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to run background checks on buyers. But that does not apply to “personal sales,’’ a category that covers people who may be going to gun shows from town to town and selling multiple weapons.

Kaiser said that one reason people go to gun shows is that sellers there do not collect sales taxes. If sales tax is no longer a factor, he figures many people would just as soon go to an actual retailer.

And that, he means, going through the required background check.

Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, who was paralyzed in 2004 in a random shooting, said she has spoken with Kaiser.

“I found his bill intriguing,’’ she said. And Longdon said she is grateful for what he is proposing on removing taxes for the purchase of gun safety equipment and safes.

“That’s something I could certainly support,’’ she said. “But not the rest of it.’’

Longdon also said she has not found any evidence that eliminating the sales tax on weapons has moved the purchase of weapons from gun shows to federally licensed firearms dealers.

Kaiser conceded the point, saying his own research found that similar legislation adopted last year in West Virginia, covering not just firearms but also ammunition, failed to produce a shift toward retail sales.

Longdon said she would be willing to back his legislation if it also would prohibit the sale of weapons at gun shows without background checks. Kaiser, however, said that is a non-starter for him, saying he wants to protect the privacy of gun purchasers.

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(11) comments

Sonny

New tires are a necessity for everyone's safety. So get rid of tire tax. To some beer is a necessity so get rid of beer tax. The list of necessities goes on and on.

tomgarven

Agreed Sonny. Some things like medications, and food are some of the necessities of life and for the most part in our state free of taxes. But certainly not everywhere.

And how about farm tractors? No tractor, no food or certainly a whole lot less food. And the fuel to run that tractor? Yup no fuel no work get done and we are trying to feed 8 billion people on our planet. Actually most of the fuel used for farm application is not taxed but the income the refineries make is still taxed but I could be wrong?

We need to have a serious debate about TAXES in America. I often write how some individuals pay nothing in taxes and over 60 of our corporations paid nothing in many cases and in SOME cases even get a refund even if they paid nothing into the tax system. In other words you and I paid the taxes for that business. That is just wrong in my book.

I am also a supporter of a "flat tax" system. Everyone pays the same rate no matter what they do. If you earn $30,000 you pay taxes on that amount. If you earn $20,000,000 you pay taxes on that amount. While I haven't read anything recently about flat tax measures most likely no one knows for sure exactly what the tax rate would be. But numbers like 15% to 18% have been thrown around. Our government is broke and as a country our Debt Clock says that as of today we are about $28.9 Trillion dollars in debt. Just how much debt can America carry. When we reach about $35-$50 trillion we will most likely have to default on some portions of our debt. What will happen? Its anyone's guess but it won't be very pretty.

And servicing that debt in interest payments alone could finance things like free college education and free medical care for all Americans. And just maybe some of the 800,000+ mentally ill patients who were once cared for in mental hospitals would once again received the mental health care they need. Here are two links for your reading enjoyment. One about our mentally ill and the other about a Flat Tax system working its way through our government. Will something be done about both injustices? Maybe and maybe not. My guess based on our divided country is not much is going to happen at the Federal level. But at least they are a start in the RECOGNITION that there are PROBLEMS in America that need to be fixed.

1. www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/special/excerpt.html

2. www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/hr1040/text

Stay safe and have a good day.

simon1dog

"Democrats for years have been attempting to get rid of what’s known as the “gun show loophole.’’ Thank goodness they've been unsuccessful.

tomgarven

And I certainly agree simondog. But I took a Conceal and Carry Permit class a couple of years ago and after being a firearm owner for over 60 years I still learned a lot. And of course practice, practice and more practice provides a degree of confidence about hitting what you are aiming at.

A background check, fingerprints, completion of the class and a photo identification were all required along with a fee to the state was needed to obtain the permit. And the knowledge gained was really excellent.

So while I support the right for anyone to own a firearm I would like to see some type of firearm safety program along with at least a background check in place before someone goes to a gun show or any other place of business to buy a firearm. There are minimum standards that should be in place like a drivers license for the safety of others.

The Dems in my opinion are going at the problem of firearm control the wrong way. Don't try to ban the firearm but rather lets try to make sure the person holding the firearm is knowledgeable and mentally stable enough to even have the weapon. That would be something which surveys have shown the majority of the American people support.

Stay safe and have a great day.

Hail Sagan

Absolutely insane! How about an added victim tax to compensate families for innocent lost loved ones or maybe liability insurance , the deadlier the weapon the higher the insurance premium. Almost everyone would agree there has to be a limit to the right to bear arms (anti-aircraft weapons, tanks, nuclear arsenals, etc.), so if you own a weapon of mass destruction you should also bear the cost to society.

Third Eye

If the 2nd amendment is ensconced in the Constitution then isn't any fee to purchase or tax a restriction on gun ownership? Kind of like a poll tax, which is illegal as it stops people from being able to exercise a right. If I didn't own a gun and I want to exercise my right, I should be able to go pick one up at Sam's free of charge and exercise it. No fee, no tax.

AZ Doc

I would use the same logic with Covid-19 treatments. If you don't want the vaccine, fine. But the added difference in health care costs needs to be calculated nationally, then the unvaccinated are charged a health care premium to be unvaccinated. Simple. People have every right to do what they want, but they don't have the right to impose either cost or hardship on others. That's probably the only way, and many will just pay the premium, and we can use that for many good purposes.

AZ Doc

Say NO to gun control. But since they do create health care costs, it is entirely appropriate that you and I should not have to pay higher premiums for our health care just to entertain the hoodlums who use them incorrectly and hurt people. Therefore, we all have to pay more for our healthcare because of guns, then people who want to buy guns should have to pay more in tax to help cover that additional cost. No socialism in that solution, it's just flat out - you cost us so we charge you.

1502

Stupid! How about no tax on cars. Just look at that picture of a old man with a gun to protect himself! He is going to hurt himself or someone else. Call 911 if you need help.

SedonaBob

And there it is another really stupid idea from a Republican. Why can't they concern themselves with the budget, infrastructure, education and things that truly matter?

Middle of the Road

Just have to throw in the "stupid" card, don't ya "Sedona" Bob? You're President is in the tank, and the socialist left is beginning to gnaw at his ankles. A brighter future is ahead!

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