With a lot better timing this year, Mississippi will hold its third Second Amendment Tax-Free Holiday this weekend (Aug. 26-28), a week ahead of the opening of dove season.
The weekend of savings was first created under legislation passed in 2014, which set the annual event as the first weekend in September. It was a big hit for two years, but was slightly ill timed since the days conflicted with the opening of dove season. Earlier this year, in a tax bill involving an unrelated matter, the Second Amendment Tax-Free Holiday was moved to the last weekend in August.
“That just makes a whole lot more sense,” said Van Allen of Van’s Sporting Goods and Deer Processing in Brandon. “That will make it more convenient for hunters.”
During the “holiday,” no state sales tax will be required on the retail sales of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies, with “hunting supplies” described as “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.”
The sales tax exemption is allowed on eligible items transferred from a seller to a purchaser, and on items that are ordered and paid for by the purchaser from a seller who accepts the order for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the sale period (provided that the purchaser has not requested or caused the delay in shipment).
For hunter Henry Childs, a father with two sons that hunt dove seriously in September and October, then rabbits, deer and ducks in the winter, it offers an opportunity to stock up on expensive shells at a savings.
“I can save nearly $100 on ammo, alone,” said Childs, of Oxford. “We’re not talking boxes. I’m talking cases of 7½s for dove and rabbits in both 12 and 20 gauges, then steel shot in both gauges for ducks. I have to buy some 22s for squirrel and general plinking and then some 7mms, 270s and 243s for deer.
“I’m a concealed carry person, too, and my wife is, too, and we stay pretty sharp by shooting regularly at the range. I can get some 40s for me and 380s for her.”
Childs said he began using the holiday last year.
“I missed it in 2014 because I wasn’t really aware of how much I could save, but I stumbled into it when I went to buy a couple of cases of shells for dove season,” he said. “Last year, I was ready and I made sure I had plenty of money ready to make a big run. I bet you I saved $200 total, because everything my family needed for hunting season including a lot of accessories I bought up front.
“That’s my plan this year, too. I’ll get serious about putting together a shopping list the week before and I’ll load up.”
That’s the kind of news storeowners, like Allen, like to hear.
“It’s a big deal for us, for sure,” Allen said. “That first year, we didn’t know what to expect and did good. Last year, we were better prepared and had a special sale that weekend and you know what, it has become our biggest days of the year. It’s better than Christmas.”
Allen said hunters were quick to learn the benefits of the tax-free days. Those looking to buy new guns now come early and find what they want, put their name on it and return during the sale to make the purchase. On a $1,500 rifle, completely accessorized, a buyer can save $105 in taxes.
“Even though it was designed to help hunters, the biggest thing for us is handgun sales,” Allen said. “We move a lot of pistols and ammo that weekend. Don’t get me wrong, because we do sell a lot of long guns and hunting ammo, too.
“It’s just a great deal all around for hunters, and for store owners like me. I know every dealer I talk to has a great weekend. It’s like a second Christmas, just better.”
Items eligible for tax-free purchases includes guns, ammunition bows and arrows, and just about any accessory that applies to those weapons, including slings and cases.
Hunting belts are eligible, but vests are not. Camouflage clothing and hunting boots are not, as are any other apparel items.
Other ineligible items include safety gear, ATVs, binoculars, knives, game processing products and stands.