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Proposed tax holiday for guns, ammo passes Georgia Senate

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Proposed tax holiday for guns, ammo passes Georgia Senate

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES. A photo introduced as evidence in the detention hearing for Nihad Al Jaberi includes nine firearms from a shipment interdicted in the Port of Savannah and reassembled, along with other firearms removed during a search of the defendant’s residence. Photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

By Chelsea Beimfohr, Atlanta News First

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — A new proposal from Georgia lawmakers could temporarily make firearms, ammo and other gun-related purchases exempt from taxes.

Senate Bill 344 is meant to help Georgia hunters, according to its Republican author, state Sen. Jason Anavitarte.

“The Second Amendment sales tax holiday is intended to encourage hunting, conservation and tourism in the state of Georgia,” Anavitarte said on the Senate floor. “With no natural predators, hunting is the primary means of keeping the deer population at a healthy level and preventing the herd from destroying ag crop and reducing accidents with motorists.”

If the bill becomes law, it could help businesses like Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna. Owner Jay Wallace compares it to Georgia’s old tax-free weekend for school supplies and thinks it would draw customers through his front door.

“There’s a lot of people that are eyeing a firearm that they want to purchase,” Wallace said.

But some of those who have lost a loved one to gun violence say the bill feels wrong.

“It’s just a slap in the face to people like myself, to all the other families who’ve lost someone to gun violence,” Aaliyah Strong said.

Strong’s fiancé was gunned down in Atlanta in 2022 while working at a lounge. Since then, Strong has created a foundation that helps other people deal with the grief of losing a friend or family member to gun violence.

“I’m not sure why we keep pushing laws that are making it easier to make it more accessible to firearms,” Strong said.

Anavitarte argues that the bill likely wouldn’t put more guns into the hands of bad guys. It would only allow Georgians to buy tax-free guns and ammo for about a week in October.

“If you’re a criminal, if you’re an outlaw, if you’re an unlawful weapons carrier, if you’re in a gang or trying to basically traffic guns through this state, I really don’t think you care about the sales tax on an item. And you’re not paying a sales tax in this state,” Anavitarte said.

Despite Democratic opposition, the bill passed in the Senate this week.

“This legislation puts our values on display. Valuing guns over lives,” Democratic state Sen. Elena Parent said.

SB 344 now heads to the House for a vote.

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.