Georgia GOP senators approve sales tax holiday on guns, ammunition

Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, speaks in favor of Senate Bill 344 at the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday. The legislation would make firearms and accessories tax exempt during the first week of hunting season. The Senate approved it on a 30-22 party-line vote, with Republicans in favor. It now heads to the House. (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller27@gmail.com)

Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, speaks in favor of Senate Bill 344 at the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday. The legislation would make firearms and accessories tax exempt during the first week of hunting season. The Senate approved it on a 30-22 party-line vote, with Republicans in favor. It now heads to the House. (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller27@gmail.com)

The Georgia Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would remove the sales tax for the purchase of firearms, ammunition and other gun accessories during the first week of hunting season in October.

Senate Bill 344 was approved 30-22 on a party-line vote, with Republicans supporting the measure.

State Sen. Jason Anavitarte, a Dallas Republican, said more hunters are needed to keep the state’s deer population under control. He said granting a five-day tax holiday that begins on the second Friday in October would help.

Anavitarte’s bill initially sought an 11-day tax holiday, but senators shortened the time frame to five days. Anavitarte said the 11-day holiday would have cost the state between $1.3 million and $3.3 million. He did not provide updated numbers on the shorter time window.

The sales tax would be removed for sales of guns, ammunition, gun safes, trigger locks and accessories, such as scopes and magazines.

Democrats said establishing the tax holiday shows Georgians what the Legislature’s priorities are.

“This bill is not about hunting, it’s about politics,” said state Sen. Jason Esteves, an Atlanta Democrat. “Ultimately, what this is intended to do is to score political points at the expense of Georgia families.”

SB 344 is not the only bill focusing on taxes and firearms this year. State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, is sponsoring Senate Bill 340, which would waive the sales tax on gun safes and gun safety accessories year-round. She estimates her bill would cost the state about $1.6 million in tax revenue.

In the state House, state Rep. Mark Newton, an Augusta Republican, has filed House Bill 971, which would provide tax credits of up to $300 per person for those who purchase a gun safe or enroll in an in-person course on safely handling a firearm.

Both SB 340 and HB 971 have bipartisan support.

The House will now consider SB 344.

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