COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There are two pieces of tax legislation, related to guns, moving through the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee.
One is House Bill 189, sponsored by Representative Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) that would exempt sales tax from certain guns and ammunition.
“We don’t tax our First Amendment right to newspapers, I don’t think we should tax our Second Amendment right,” Cutrona said. “I want to make sure there is fair access for law abiding citizens to buy firearms.”
The bill was met with strong opposition from Democrats on the committee.
“This is about the most morally bankrupt bill I think we’ve seen in front of our committee,” Representative Dani Isaacsohn (D-Cincinnati) said. “It’s not a hypothetical to say more guns equals more death.”
The bill would also provide tax incentives for firearm industry manufactures in Ohio. Cutrona said the legislation is partly about promoting economic development.
“It is an economic development bill,” Cutrona said. “And at the same time promotes our constitutional rights.”
The state does exempt taxes from things like baby products and feminine products.
Those are things democratic lawmakers on the committee call necessary, so democrats questioned why guns and ammunition would fall under the same umbrella.
“Firearms’ purposes have multitudes, for hunters, an opportunity for people to protect their loved ones,” Cutrona said. “It’s a fundamental right.”
On Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said he has “no thought” about this bill.
On the other side of the aisle, Representatives Darnell Brewer (D-Cleveland) and Sean Brennan (D-Parma) put forward House Bill 186 to exempt taxes from firearm safety devices, like gun locks.
“The widespread use of safety devices could save lives,” Brewer said.
But some lawmakers on the committee said they worry about the use of devices like gun locks in some instances.
“We don’t even know how long this [gun lock] takes to unlock and put a magazine in a gun and make sure it’s ready to fire,” Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wayne County) said. “And we also know during a home invasion, things can be very tense.”
Brennan said it does not take long to remove the gun lock.
“This incentivizes responsible gun ownership by making sure those who want to own guns can do so safely,” Brennan said.
The bill would also require vendors to post a notice on all premises where firearms are sold, informing buyers that safety devices are exempt from sales tax.