Outdoor sporting goods tax holidays offer sportsmen and women an opportunity to purchase the equipment they need tax free while at the same time benefiting conservation programs through increasing sales of firearms,ammunition, and other items that are subject to federal excise taxes. Gun sales soared (650% increase in one day) on the first ever Outdoor Sporting Goods Tax Holiday in December of 2008 in South Carolina. Currently, three states have implemented such tax holidays.
State-implemented sales tax holidays are implemented throughout the nation for a variety of consumer goods to encourage retail spending. Recently, such holidays have been implemented to benefit distributors and purchasers of firearms, ammunition, and other outdoor sporting goods. Not only have these tax holidays proven to be financially beneficial to the firearms and sporting goods industries and to conservation programs, they have made it easier for sportsmen to purchase the hunting and fishing equipment they need.
Points of Interest
- In 2013, legislation to create an outdoor sporting goods tax holiday was introduced and passed in Mississippi. This holiday, known as “Second Amendment Weekend,” provides tax breaks on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and certain types of outdoor gear. In 2016, HB 1687 moved the holiday to the last weekend of August, creating more of an incentive to purchase equipment to better prepare hunters for the upcoming season.
- In 2014, Alabama also introduced legislation that ultimately stalled in committee.
- In 2015, Texas, Tennessee, and Maryland all introduced bills to create outdoor sporting good tax holidays, however, all failed to pass during the 2015 session.
- Several states unsuccessfully proposed legislation in 2017 and 2018 like that of Mississippi regarding sales tax holidays, including Texas and Tennessee.
- In 2020, legislators in Florida (SB 1310) introduced legislation to establish a tax holiday for firearms, ammunition and fishing supplies that failed to advance. In May of 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed in several House-backed sales tax holidays (HB 7061), including this July’s “Freedom Week” allowing for no sales tax on items related to recreational activities, including those pertaining to outdoor and sporting equipment.
- In 2023, Louisiana enacted legislation (SB 56) to reinstate the second amendment sales tax holiday originally passed in 2009.
The following states have enacted outdoor sporting goods tax holiday legislation using the language below:
- South Carolina Revenue Ruling #08-13: “Code Section 12-36-2120 has been amended to exempt from the sales and use tax: sales of handguns as defined pursuant to Section 16-23-10(1), rifles, and shotguns during the forty-eight hours of the Second Amendment Weekend. For purposes of this item, the ‘Second Amendment Weekend’ begins at 12:01 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving and ends at twelve midnight the following Saturday.”
- Louisiana Public Act 453 (2009): “The Annual Second Amendment Weekend Holiday; to provide that the state and local sales and use tax shall not apply to consumer purchases of firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies each year for a certain period; to provide for an effective date; and to provide for related matters.”
- Mississippi SB 2425: “Retail sales of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies if sold during the annual Mississippi Second Amendment Weekend holiday beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in September and ending at 12:00 midnight the following Sunday. For the purposes of this paragraph, “hunting supplies” means tangible personal property used for hunting, including, and limited to, archery equipment, firearm and archery cases, firearm and archery accessories, hearing protection, holsters, belts and slings. Hunting supplies does not include animals used for hunting.”
- This language was later amended and changed to the last weekend in August to better prepare hunters for the season. This change was prompted by the passage of HB 1687.
Tax holidays offer a unique opportunity for pro-sportsmen legislators; they remove a financial barrier for sportsmen and women which generate critical conservation dollars. Legislators should explore opportunities in their governing tax code and support legislation that spurs economic growth in the outdoor sporting goods and firearm industries.