ANDERSON, S.C. -- More guns are sold in South Carolina in the weekend after Thanksgiving than at any other time of the year, according to Anderson retailers.
That is because, they said, of the state's Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, which allows stores to waive the 6 percent state sales tax on many firearms.
The holiday, which marked its third year, has led many potential gun buyers to pull the trigger, said John Phillips, president of Grady's Great Outdoors in Anderson.
Phillips said he's sold hundreds of guns Friday and Saturday, just as the store has for the two previous Second Amendment Sales Tax Holidays.
"It definitely makes a huge difference in our firearms sales," he said. "I hope the legislature and the governor extends the holiday."
The two-day holiday started Friday at 12:01 a.m. and ended right after 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Gary Metz, manager of B and B Sporting Goods and Pawn Shop in Anderson, said his store also sold hundreds of guns, more than in any other weekend. "It was as good as last year, maybe not as good as the first year of it, but I'm real pleased," he said. "Real pleased."
Phillips said he has heard that 2010 may end up being the last year for the sales tax holiday. Metz said people said the same thing in 2009.
With the state facing an estimated budget deficit of $1 billion and looming cuts to a broad spectrum of state agencies and departments, lawmakers could find it tempting not to renew the holiday.
South Carolina Budget and Control Board members have estimated that forgoing sales taxes on guns for 48 hours costs the state about $311,000 each year.
But Phillips said the extra sales of items at stores across the state ends up giving South Carolina much more in additional sales taxes than the holiday costs.
The waiver on sales tax for guns covers only cartridge-based firearms such as handguns, rifles and shotguns. Antique guns, pellet guns and some revolvers do not qualify.
Most gun buyers, Phillips said, purchase ammunition, holsters, targets and other accessories, all items on which sales tax is paid.
(Mike Ellis is a reporter for the Anderson Independent-Mail in Anderson, S.C.)