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Georgia tax holiday proposal turns conversation to gun violence


(The Center Square) — The Georgia Senate passed a bill to eliminate the sales tax on guns and gun-related purchases in the state before the start of whitetail deer hunting season.

Senate Bill 344, which the state Senate passed last week, exempts the sales of guns and accessories, including ammunition and gun safes, from sales and use taxes for five days annually, starting on the second Friday of October.

When introduced, the measure, previously referred to as the “Second Amendment Tax Holiday Act,” would have eliminated the tax for 11 days, starting on the second Friday of October and running through the fourth Monday of October.

“Once again, somebody comes up with a piece of legislation, and everybody wants to tie it into gun violence and blame all the gun violence in our country, in our city, in our state, on the instrument, the inanimate object,” state Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, said on the Senate floor. “Because we all know that the guns are what’s going out there and doing it. It’s not the individuals with the mental health issues that are going out there and doing it.

“Let’s stop blaming the gun, start looking into the communities,” Robertson added. “Let’s start addressing mental health issues. Quit blaming that inanimate object and quit using it to politicize firearms in the state of Georgia.”

Unsurprisingly, Senate Democrats opposed the measure.

“We need to see this bill for what it is,” state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, said on the Senate floor. “Is it a small bone thrown to Georgia gun owners before hunting season? Perhaps. But there’s also so much more at stake here because tax exemptions are not just about money. They’re also about values.

“This bill explicitly values selling guns, ammunition, and gun safety equipment for five days once a year,” Parent added. “But meanwhile, we need gun safety year-round.”