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Lawmakers want to exempt guns, ammunition from sales tax

A group of state lawmakers want to exempt guns and ammunition from sales tax for at least the next 10 years, saying that firearms are a "basic necessity" like food and water, which are also exempt from sales tax. (AP Photo/file)

A group of state lawmakers want to exempt guns and ammunition from sales tax for at least the next 10 years, saying that firearms are a "basic necessity" like food and water, which are also exempt from sales tax.

Republican state reps. Matt Shea, Jason Overstreet, David Taylor, Joel Kretz, and Elizabeth Scott are the sponsors of House Bill 2529, which was introduced in the House on Jan. 20.

Shea, R-Spokane Valley, and Overstreet, R-Lynden, talked to KTTH host Ben Shapiro about their bill, and why it is so important.

"We want to encourage shooting sports and the safe handling of firearms, but more importantly, the defense of self and the defense of property," Overstreet told Shapiro.

"The ability to defend oneself is a basic necessity, like food and water. We exempt food and water from sales tax," Shea reasoned.

"It's beyond a shadow of a doubt, more firearms in a society cuts crime in that society," he continued.

The bill would provide "a sales and use tax exemption for firearms and firearm ammunition," and would expire July 1, 2024. Sales tax exemptions on ammunition would apply to cartridges, primers, cases, bullets, and gunpowder. Overstreet said that the bill is a proactive measure to fight back against the "constant crush" in Olympia to restrict gun rights.

Shapiro wondered if, given the Democrats' majority control of the House and the governor's office, the bill has a chance to pass. During the last legislative session, Shea said, Republicans were able to overcome a 6-vote deficit in the House to stop a bill that would force stricter gun background checks.

Shea and Overstreet say that gun rights are a bipartisan issue, which is why they think their tax-exemption bill has a good chance of becoming law. In fact, Overstreet said it's time for Republicans in the Legislature to "go on the offense" and push for looser gun laws.

"We need to expand gun freedoms," Overstreet said. "There are just as many Democrats who love the shooting sports as Republicans. That is why this bill is important. We want to teach our kids about the safe handling of firearms. This is a great offensive measure."

After its introduction on Jan. 20, Shea and Overstreet's bill was referred to the House Finance Committee.

About the Author


Originally from the Northeast, Neal McNamara has worked as a news reporter for more than 10 years at newspapers across the U.S., landing most recently in Seattle.

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