JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Legislation to exempt guns, ammunition, diapers and feminine hygiene products from sales tax is moving forward in the Missouri Capitol.

It was a deal between political parties to approve the two tax cuts. Senate Democrats would not filibuster the legislation to exempt firearms and ammunition from sales tax as long as they could get a clean tax cut bill on diapers and feminine hygiene products, while giving tax credits to grocery stores built in food deserts.

“Your priorities tell you who you kind of are,” Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said. “We are fighting for working families, they [Republicans] are fighting to make sure you can buy unlimited rounds with no sales tax.”

The upper chamber passed the two separate plans aimed at cutting taxes Thursday within minutes of each other.

One bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, would drop local and state sales tax on the purchase of firearms and ammunition. Senate Bill 131 would also give gun manufacturers tax credits in hopes of bringing more gun-makers to the state.

“This is an offset of an imposed taxation from the federal government to impose that sort of taxation,” Brattin said Thursday. “This is a way to help offset something that the government is doing to a constitutional right.”

Five GOP members, including Sen. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, joined the 10 Democrats in voting no on the bill.

“A guy goes into a story and he buys a gallon of milk and a box of cereal for his kids and next to him is a guy buying a box of ammunition,” Cierpiot said. “Why is the guy buying food for his kids paying taxes and the guy buying the bullets is not? I just don’t understand the concept of carving out this one little area.”

Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, also voted against the legislation, in fear it would later be vetoed by the governor.

“I’m not fond of tax credits because tax credits don’t treat everyone equal,” Moon said.

During debate on the bill, some senators tried removing the sales tax on groceries.

“The grocery tax thing cost a lot, a lot, of money, as in billions of money,” Senate President Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said. “I think it needs to be part of a grander and broader discussion relative to all the tax cuts, tax credits and tax incentives that we have passed this year. I would like to do them all, but we know we can’t and so, we’ve got to be responsible about it.”

According to the fiscal note for the amendment, cutting the sales tax on groceries would have cost the state roughly $200 million and local municipalities more than $1.3 billion.

“I support that and wanted to do that, but unfortunately, it was too heavy of a lift to get that through this chamber,” Brattin said.

When it came time for the vote, Rizzo said he was surprised at the 19-15 vote count. In the upper chamber, there are 24 Republicans.

“Nineteen votes on a gun bill in the state of Missouri, maybe the pendulum is swinging a bit,” Rizzo said. “I hope people are getting more common sense on that issue because people are dying.”

Minutes later, the Senate took a vote on Senate Bill 143, sponsored by Sen. Doug Beck, D-Affton, to remove the sales tax on all diapers and feminine hygiene products, like pads and tampons. The legislation received bipartisan support, with a 28-6 vote.

“We agreed we would give them a path for something,” Rizzo said. “We decided we wanted to give a path for sales tax exemptions for diapers, period products and food deserts, then they decided to give a path to no sales tax on guns and ammo.”

Beck’s legislation would also provide tax credits to grocery stories and food pantries that are built in food deserts.

Together, the tax cuts would cost the state more than $140 million. When broken down, the state receives roughly $80 million on the revenue from ammunition and firearms and $60 million on diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Both bills are now in the hands of the House. There are less than five weeks left in session.