Last year, Tennessee state Sen. Sara Kyle introduced a bill exempting from state sales tax the purchase of gun locks, gun safes and other safety devices. A permanent sales tax exemption had failed in the past, but a one-year sales tax exemption passed last year with bipartisan support. Through June 30, the state is waiving the seven percent state sales and 2.5 percent local option tax on sales of firearm safety and storage items. This year, Kyle proposed to make the exemption permanent, Stateline reports. Tennessee is among a handful of states that now offer tax breaks to gun owners for safe storage purchases. Others include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Kyle hopes more Tennesseans will buy and use gun safes if they can save potentially hundreds of dollars in sales taxes. A gun safe or safety device can cost $100 to upwards of $10,000, and the exemption could result in more than $320,000 in lost tax revenue this year. “The loss of revenue to the state of Tennessee is worth it if it saves one life,” she said. Nearly every related special interest group agrees on the need for gun owners to store their firearms securely when they are not in use. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s largest association of pediatricians, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry, concur that the best secure storage is a three-tiered approach. If firearms are in a home, they should be stored unloaded and locked—for example, in a gun safe—with ammunition stored in a separate locked location.