A State Representative does not want customers to pay state and local sales and use taxes when buying new or used firearms in Missouri. Representative Nick Schroer, R- O’Fallon, tells Missourinet his proposal would also exempt firearm components, ammunition, and tools and components of making ammo.
“The inflation that we’re already seeing – I think we’re going to try to alleviate some of that pain when it comes to individuals trying to provide for themselves and their families and defend themselves and their families, especially with the crime on the rise and cities like St Louis and Kansas City. The crime is spreading into the suburbs, where I am in St. Charles County with 42% of the arrests last year in 2020, 42% of the arrests were attributed in St. Charles City to just across the river in St. Louis,” says Schroer.
He says high sales taxes can drive people in the wrong direction.
“San Francisco, I believe, just had to exempt or at least shrink the sales tax. Because it was so high, no pun intended, it was so high that users were actually going to the underground and going through illegal drug dealers of marijuana to obtain marijuana instead of going to the store. So, it was cheaper to go that route,” he says. “Taxing it out of this world – you’re going to drive people to other ways of obtaining weapons or ammunition and I think that’s something that is really the driving force behind this because the federal government has indicated that that’s one of their goals of making it unaffordable to own and operate firearms.”
According to Schroer, the bill does not currently include a sales tax exemption for gun safes and components that make guns fire rapidly.
“It’s something that I can guarantee you there are certain members that that may want to exempt that as well. And I think, you know, we should certainly always promote gun safety – number one. I think a lot of these crimes that we’re seeing in the city of St. Louis, we just saw someone a couple of weeks ago, a two-year-old, a two-year-old shot, a grown man in the back now. Gun education is key there because you should know not to leave any guns loaded or unloaded around children, especially two-year-olds. So I think gun safety is going to be a huge part of the discussion here,” says Schroer. “I’m definitely open to adding any other additional items as long it makes sense to the underlying goal here.”
He says how much this would cost the state in sales tax revenue is unknown at this time.
How do some Missouri Democrats feel about the proposal?
Schroer also says there is a loophole in a new law taxing out-of-state businesses selling online to Missourians.
“I went to visit Ultimate Defense in St. Charles County, actually in St. Peters. I was talking to them about this bill and some other issues related to the Second Amendment. They brought up the point that currently, if you go to an online gun show, which you know, GunBroker and other auction places, there’s many different avenues online where you can buy a gun. If you buy a gun online, and get it shipped to an FFL (federal firearms license) dealer to fill out your 4473, to fill out all the necessary paperwork to do that transfer, that online sales or the out of state sales rather, does not have to pay, according to Ultimate Defense, Paul Bastin, a good friend of mine, they do not have to pay the sales tax currently. So, it’s similar to the issues that we dealt with last year with Wayfair, with online sales versus the physical mom and pop shop locations. And it’s currently burdening, from what I understand talking to this, dealer today, Ultimate Defense, it’s burdening them because now instead of selling more of their products in store, which might be a little bit more expensive, because of the tax requirements, a lot of these people are transferring the guns that they’re buying out of state or online, transferring them to ultimate defense. So, there is some sort of monetary incentive that they have to fill out the paperwork, and charge you know, a fee 25-50 bucks. But it is very competitive right now. And I think we need to make an even playing field – either require these out of state sales to require the sales tax or pass my bill and we can all be on the same playing field,” he says.
To view House Bill 1577, click here.
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