Second Amendment holiday benefits state’s outdoor enthusiasts

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Another tax-free weekend is on the horizon for shoppers in Mississippi, and this time it is targeting outdoorsmen.

Mississippi’s Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday will be held Friday through Sunday.

“This holiday was designed to be a tax break for everyday Mississippians who needed to buy everyday hunting supplies,” said Laura Hipp, communications director for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ office.

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This is the second year guns, archery equipment and a select number of other hunting items will be available to Mississippians free of the state’s 7 percent sales tax. Like the clothing and footwear Sales Tax Holiday before it, this weekend was also created to generate spending in the state.

“I think it was pretty popular last year,” Hipp said. “We heard that stores were packed that weekend. Some stores said it was even bigger than Christmas for them, which is really what we want, to encourage folks to get out into the communities to support the local businesses.”

Hobie’s owner Jason Martin-Nez is anticipating selling more than 100 guns this weekend and is glad people will be motivated to shop locally.

“In today’s market with the Internet and all these different options everybody has, anything to help the local retailer is very, very big,” Martin-Nez said.

Martin-Nez said the tax-free sale is a big incentive for customers to shop, but he will also run special sales on all of the store’s guns. Many of the firearms will be discounted from $20 to $100 off before the tax is excluded.

“It helps make your mind up when it’s a 7 percent that you don’t have to spend on expensive items like that. I mean a lot of pistols are $500, and it saves you a good chunk of change,” Martin-Nez said.

Explaining to customers what items are tax-free and which items are not can be difficult. Since the discrepancy can be hard to understand, Martin-Nez will sell some items like camo clothing, boots and game cameras free of tax even though they are not on the list.

The store is working to stock up on the merchandise they need for the sale.

“We’re in the process of getting all the merchandise out that we feel like is popular and what folks have been really leaning toward through the year leading up to now,” John Coccaro at Hobie’s said.

In addition to tax free, dove season also begins this weekend, which Martin-Nez said makes it a good time for hunters to shop for the equipment they need.

“Dove season starts this weekend so getting shot gun shells tax free is really good,” Martin-Nez said.

Last year, he said business picked up during the weekend sale and this year he expects the same.

He plans to have about eight people at the gun counter and two at the archery counter.

“We definitely keep extra staff to make it happen,” Martin-Nez said.

Hobie’s will be open during its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The store is usually closed on Sunday, but this Sunday it will open from 1 to 5 p.m. for the holiday.

“Hunting is the favorite pastime of so many Mississippians and a major tourism draw for rural areas,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in a press release.

“The Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday is a way to make these sports a little less expensive and encourage more families to enjoy the outdoors.”