Are you in the market for a new assault rifle? Do you worry that you’ll be unsafe unless you have a brand new handgun strapped to your belt? If so, then the entire state of Mississippi is about to become the world’s biggest bargain outlet for firearms. A bill signed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R) on Wednesday, designates the first full weekend of every September “Second Amendment Weekend,” during which the state will stop collecting its 7 percent sales tax on “firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies.”
As a practical matter, this new law amounts to a state subsidy for firearm sales. When governments provide a targeted tax exemption for individuals who make a particular purchase, that has the exact same effect as if that individual had been taxed normally and then the government had cut them a check for their purchase. Indeed, governments normally enact these kinds of tax expenditures for the very purpose of providing people an incentive to buy a specific product to to encourage them to take a particular action.
Mississippi is at least the second state to enact a law providing this subsidy to gun sales. The state of Louisiana has a similar “Second Amendment Weekend.”