Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gun tax holiday? We're already setting sales records!

In yet another moment of utter tone deafness, on Tuesday Rep. Steve Drazkowski proposed that any money that might be gained by taxing online retailers be used for a sales tax holiday on guns and ammunition.

What intrigues me is how Rep. Drazkowski arrived at the conclusion that of all things that are taxed, guns and ammunition are the items that he believes are most in need of sales tax relief. Gun retailers certainly don't need the additional boost. Minnesota gun sales have skyrocketed in the past few years.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a useful (though imperfect) proxy for gun sales. The Minnesota NICS data reveals a state that's having no trouble paying for guns and ammo. In fact, we've been setting records for NICS checks every year since 2007.

The 337,000 Minnesota NICS checks in 2011 represented a 75% increase over 2001. And Minnesota's increase in gun and ammunition sales is not an isolated phenomenon. President Obama may well be "the greatest gun salesman" ever, in spite of proposing nothing whatsoever that would limit gun or ammunition sales.

Despite this, Rep. Drazkowski's first thought about which industry needs a little boost is the guns and ammunition industry. Late today, we might have discovered why.
Well, in that case, it all makes sense.

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