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Build it here: Ohio Republicans want to make state more favorable for gun manufacturers

Eric Delbert, owner of L.E.P.D. Firearms, Range and Training Facility, poses for a portrait inside his store on Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2021 in Columbus.  Ohio state lawmakers introduced legislature to eliminate sales taxes on firearms.
Eric Delbert, owner of L.E.P.D. Firearms, Range and Training Facility, poses for a portrait inside his store on Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2021 in Columbus. Ohio state lawmakers introduced legislature to eliminate sales taxes on firearms.

In what could be called a sales pitch to national gun manufacturers, two Ohio Republicans are pushing legislation to make the state a better place to build their firearms.

"I went to SHOT show and got a chance to talk to gun manufacturer CEOs," Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, said. "They indicated that they are looking for different states. States that are more gun friendly. States that make more sense from a business standpoint, and I want Ohio to be on top of the curve."

That's one reason why he and Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, have introduced bills in both the state House and Senate that would give manufacturers tax incentives to reduce their tax bill here and offset some of the federal taxes they pay.

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Stag Arm left Connecticut for Wyoming in 2019. Smith & Wesson relocated to Tennessee from Massachusetts, where it had been based since before the Civil War, in September 2021. And Remmington moved its headquarters from New York to Georgia in 2022.

Cutrona thinks these tax incentives will put Ohio in contention for whoever wants to move next.

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The legislation would also eliminate sales tax on both firearms and ammunition−making Ohio one of the first states to exempt these products from these taxes.

“This is the least we can do to make owning a firearm for self-defense, hunting, and sport more affordable for the average Ohioan," Schaffer said in a statement.

Cutrona estimated that sales taxes on firearms and ammunition bring in about $15 to $20 million per year, and he thinks Ohio would more than makeup for that loss of revenue with increased sales.

"If you live somewhere like I do where West Virginia is only 30 minutes away, sales tax makes a difference," Cutrona said, especially for people who buy their ammunition in bulk.

When asked whether this legislation might get folded into the state's upcoming budget, Cutrona said he is focused on having his bill vetted through the regular committee process.

Anna Staver is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Republicans move to eliminate sales tax on guns and ammunition