Introduced by Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, HB 2494 would give tax breaks to new concealed carry permit holders in the state by crediting the cost of obtaining a permit – including the required training – up to $80. The credit would be applied to any state taxes owed by the concealed carrier. The proposed tax credits would not be applied to current gun permit-holders.
While obtaining a permit is not required in order to carry in the state of Arizona, having a permit has advantages, such as being able to carry inside bars and other establishments that serve alcoholic beverages, according to KJZZ. Also, according to the Arizona Daily Star, other states honor Arizona’s gun permits.
“It’s promoting safety. Law enforcement have told us time and again that the first line of defense are those that carry CCW permits. 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.”
The bill is not without its critics. Arizonans for Gun Safety – an organization which bills itself as working toward the prevention of “gun violence” – calls what Montenegro has proposed “pandering to the gun lobby.” Its founder Geraldine Hills had this to say:
“It is extremely disappointing to see the Legislature once again pandering to the gun lobby instead of focusing on the critical issues of Arizona. A permit is not required to carry in this state. If you do want to take a class, people can get a Groupon deal for $40 per person.”
Currently, over 250,000 residents in Arizona have concealed carry permits. Another 3 million in the state are eligible to obtain a gun permit. In order to qualify for a permit, one must be at least 21 years old and not have any record of convictions or felonies.