Already considered by many as having the most gun-friendly laws and firearms regulations in the country, Arizona residents may soon receive a tax credit covering the cost of attending their state-authorized concealed carry permit classes and safety training.
House Bill 2494, sponsored by House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro (R-Litchfield Park), would provide a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $80 for persons completing concealed-carry training after Jan. 1, 2016.
The measure passed The House Ways and Means Committee on a 5-4 vote earlier this week and now undergoes a standard review before moving to the Senate.
If passed, Arizona would become the only state offering a tax credit to its concealed-carry permit holders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. During committee hearing Feb. 8, Rep. Montenegro said his measure was designed to encourage gun safety and education.
“I think that these are lessons in firearm safety that are appropriate for the next generation of firearm users,” he said.
Currently, more than 250,000 Arizonans have obtained permits to carry concealed firearms for personal and home protection. To qualify, individuals must be 21 or over, go through a background check and complete a concealed-carry firearms training course. The cost of courses averages between $40 and $160. For those with current or former military service (honorably discharged), the age requirement drops to 19.
Montenegro said the idea for the measure was suggested to him by constituents with experience in law-enforcement. The bill provides a one-time tax credit and would not apply to persons who have previously taken the classes. If signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey, it would be retroactive to Jan. 1.
“If you look at our law enforcement, they have told us time and again that the first line of defense are our citizens that take CCWs and that carry responsibly,” Montenegro said.