Tax season is nearly here, and if a bill introduced by Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro (R- Avondale) passes, then Arizona CCW permit owners may get some money back from their taxes.
The bill, HB 2494, would allow those who have CCW permits in Arizona to claim up to $80 in tax credits, which would help to offset the cost of firearms training classes and a separate $60 application fee. Montenegro said he hopes the tax credit will encourage gun owners to apply for a concealed carry permit and promote safety.
“Law enforcement have told us time and again that the first line of defense are those that carry CCW permits,” Montenegro told KJZZ. “In essence, what it does is it’s bringing a level of awareness that we want to make sure that we can say maybe the next generation of those that want to have or possess firearms, they understand that we as a state value making sure that people are educated in how to use weapons or how to carry weapons.”
Although the tax credit may not be a windfall, many gun owners welcomed the bill with support. Jeff Prather, a firearms instructor and founder of Warrior School LLC, agrees that a tax credit may bring more people in for additional firearms training.
“There are a lot of people carrying weapons that no longer have the training,” Prather told KVOA. “They do not know how to clear them, they don’t know how to make them safe, all they’ve done is plinked at some cans or shot some targets and then they think that they are ready to defend themselves.”
Others criticized lawmakers for giving money back to gun owners as the state is making deep cuts to its public school system. Currently there are 251,000 CCW permit owners in Arizona, but it is not known if the bill would also cover previous permit and training fees retroactively.
Arizona lawmakers also introduced another bill in the House recently that would allow the state to ignore executive actions, such as the one announced by President Barack Obama this month which is geared towards gun control. Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who introduced the bill, said it would only affect executive actions that state lawmakers consider unconstitutional.
“If you torture the Constitution enough, you will get it to say anything. And that’s what we have today,” he told The Arizona Republic. “The reason for House Bill 2024 is to take the Constitution out of the torture chamber and have Arizona stand up and say we are sovereign and we have expectations that you will live by the letter of the law and the Constitution.”