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Arizonans Could Be On Hook For $240 Million For Concealed Carry Tax Credit

Steve Montenegro
(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Former Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro received Trent Franks' endorsement in the race.

Arizona taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $240 million to convince gun owners to get state permits to carry concealed weapons.

Any adult can now have a concealed gun but undergoing the training and getting a permit brings other privileges, like reciprocity with other states. About 250,000 people now have such permits.

House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, R-Avondale, wants to provide a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for the cost of the training, up to $80. He said the lessons go beyond how to use a gun.

"When you want to make sure you don't use a firearm, how you let people know you have one or not...these are lessons in firearms safety that are appropriate for the next generation of firearm users," he said.

Some legislators questioned the expense, pointing out if the credit results in the 3 million adults who do not have a permit all opting to get one, that comes out to $240 million in credit. Montenegro, however, is relying on estimates of $1.9 million a year, for the foreseeable future-- assuming the credits do not result in a surge of applicants.

Anyway, he said, the money doesn't matter-- "You can't really put a price on safety."

Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, questioned why Democrats would oppose the measure. "The left is always saying we need to regulate Second Amendment, whoever wants to buy a gun needs to apply for a permit and needs to go into some kind of database."

Kern said if more people get concealed weapons permits, that means the state has a bigger list of who has a gun. The measure has cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on a 5-4 vote.