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Chad Love: On the Taxing of Guns
My home state of Oklahoma is famous for many things: tornadoes (gratuitous self-promoting tornado pic can be found here), Sooner football, quail hunting, Garth Brooks (if you're into chubby yodelers in big hats) and the self-aggrandizing stupidity of our lawmakers.
Like most states, we pride ourselves on our uncanny ability to elect (among a population of over three million souls) a group of people so profoundly unfit for public service that when we do finally realize just how badly we've screwed up, we make amends by electing them again...and again...and again.
The result is proposed legislation like this.
From the story:
Two state lawmakers say they'll sponsor a bill to repeal state taxes on the sale of guns and ammunition in Oklahoma. Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa and Sen. Kenneth Corn of Poteau say the tax may be a barrier for people needing protection. Proctor says repealing the tax would have little affect on the state treasury and the people shouldn't have to pay a tax if they need a gun to protect their families. Proctor says he was asked by a constituent to file the legislation
Far be it from me to say bad things about a piece of allegedly pro-gun legislation, but this bill reeks of pandering, a cheap political stunt designed not to address a real issue, but to bring attention to the politician(s) proposing it so he or they can use it as an example of what gun-rights stalwarts they are. The idea that Oklahoma's 4.5 percent sales tax is some insurmountable financial barrier to obtaining a gun and/or ammo for self-defense is, quite frankly, a load of bull, and the (Dis)Hon. Reps Proctor and Corn know it. They are well and truly shining examples of what George Bernard Shaw meant when he quipped that "Democracy is an institution that insures we are governed no better than we deserve."
I would say the bill doesn't have a chance of passing, but I've overestimated the intelligence of my state legislature too many times to say that again.
Here's an idea: instead of eliminating the state sales tax on guns and ammo why doesn't Oklahoma (or any other state) instead earmark those funds for something that would truly benefit the state's gun owners? Perhaps the creation and maintenance of public shooting ranges in suburban areas where shooting opportunity is limited or non-existent. Or maybe the funding of state youth shooting programs to get more youngsters involved in the shooting sports. Maybe habitat improvements on public hunting areas? Anything other than simply creating yet another tax exemption based on a completely specious argument cooked up to generate a little publicity for attention-seeking legislators.
But things like that involve creative thought and a genuine concern for one's constituency, which is of course pure anathema to the empty suits we keep sending to our state capitals. Are there similar bills in other states across the nation, or is Oklahoma alone in its innovative solutions to non-existent problems?