Commentary: Tax-free gun sales holiday is misguided

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

We can see the logic behind a sales tax-free holiday for back-to-school items. We don't see why the state would hold a similar event for gun sales.

This past weekend, South Carolina became the first state in the nation to sponsor a sales tax-free holiday for handgun, shotgun and rifle sales. The event was known formally as Second Amendment Tax Holiday.

The bill creating the holiday was the brainchild of state Rep. Mike Pitts, a retired Greenville police officer and NRA life member. The bill passed but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Sanford – but then the Legislature easily overrode the veto.

This event occurred simultaneously with "Black Friday," the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, and a weekend when many families do major Christmas shopping. That makes it hard to gauge just how many people were shopping exclusively for guns.

But as expensive as firearms can be, eliminating the state's 6 percent state sales tax – 7 percent in York, Chester and Lancaster counties – could represent a significant savings. Unfortunately, it also could mean a significant loss in tax revenues at a time when the state faces severe budget deficits and grim revenue projections.

The state already has been forced to cut its budget by $621 million, and more cuts are coming. Economists say the drop in revenues is largely the result of tax cuts by the state – not the slumping economy.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.