Commentary: Gun tax holiday unjustified

This editorial appeared in The State.

A lot of people were surprised to find out that the state was offering a tax-free weekend after Thanksgiving — for guns. Even happy gun-store owners had not realized that the Legislature had chosen to single them out for a business-booster.

Little wonder. The latest twist on the absurd tax-holiday craze didn’t get debated in the State House. It just got passed. At a time when the economy was already starting to tank and state agencies were being told they'd have to make do on less money than the previous year, our legislators were so convinced that temporarily removing the sales tax from guns was a great idea that they didn’t feel the need to debate it.

Actually, a lot of them probably would have loved to have had some debate — knew they ought to vote against it, for that matter — but they were afraid to speak up. That's because opposing this gimmick meant opposing a tax cut and refusing to genuflect to the gun lobby — in an election year. Never mind that voting against the bill wouldn't have added any taxes to anything or taken anything away from gun owners; it simply wouldn't give anyone a special present that no one has made a legitimate case for.

The closest thing we ever heard to a justification was when the give-away's chief backer, Rep. Mike Pitts, called this a great way to recognize the importance of the Second Amendment.

Excuse us? Removing the sales tax on guns doesn't recognize the Second Amendment. It does the same thing any tax break does: It makes it easier for people to afford whatever is being un-taxed. It puts the state's imprimatur on an activity: We want you to do this.

To read the complete editorial, visit The State.