For pro-gun Republicans in the Florida Legislature, passing a slew of tax cuts this week also meant standing up for their 2nd Amendment rights.
That is because among the more than $400 million in tax cuts sent to the governor on Monday is one that would bar the state from collecting sales tax revenue on gun club memberships. It amounts to a $1 million tax cut for gun club members in Florida.
"The Department of Revenue has been in error charging a tax on peoples' membership in a gun club," state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said right after the Florida House voted overwhelming to send the bill to the governor.
Gaetz is not alone in that thinking. The NRA's longtime Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer has been making the same case for years, insisting that the state Department of Revenue has long been violating state law. Florida law states that "except as expressly provided by the state Constitution or general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition." To the NRA and Hammer, that means gun memberships are exempt from state sales taxes unless the legislators pass a bill to state otherwise.
"This was a clarification in the law that I think was needed so that we weren't inadvertently taxing the 2nd amendment," Gaetz said.
On the lower end, gun club memberships in Florida can run between $80 and $200. The sales tax in that regard can run from $5.60 to $14. But there are high end gun clubs in Florida, like the South Florida Shooting Club in Palm Bay, which has a standard membership for $1,800. But their prices can go up to $100,000 for a lifetime membership. That could save as much as $7,000 on a membership.