Tennessee shows how to promote real gun safety

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Gun safety–and I mean real gun safety and not a euphemism for gun control–is something we should all be able to get behind. Proper weapon handling and storage is something that will go a long way in undermining the narrative that the world is populated with irresponsible gun owners.

It’ll also head off mandates for mandatory storage laws and similar measures if we’re already doing a good job of securing our firearms.

But the problem is that when government officials want people to do something like that, they immediately go to mandates.

Tennessee, on the other hand, is considering some measures that will do a better job promoting gun safety than any mandate ever could.

Tennessee lawmakers are considering extending the state’s sales tax holiday on gun safety items through next year.

In 2021, the General Assembly approved a year-long tax holiday on gun safes and gun safety devices that will expire on June 30.

However, a pair of bills would make the sales tax holiday permanent while another set of bills would extend the tax break through June 30, 2023.

A “gun safe” is defined by the state as “a locking container or other enclosure equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or other locking device that is designed and intended for the secure storage of one (1) or more firearms.”

By contrast, a “gun safety device” is basically anything you can add to your gun that essentially turns it into a smart gun.

Now, I’m not a fan of such devices, but the great thing about the Tennessee proposals is that by removing the taxes on them, it makes them just that much more attractive to those who are.

These aren’t cheap items. A good gun safe is a costly investment and while I haven’t priced these gun safety devices, I can’t imagine they’re in the $30 range.

That makes a regular sales tax a significant sum of money to be considered on top of the expense of the device.

By removing that, they provide an incentive that doesn’t actually cost the taxpayers a penny.

Yeah, I know, people considered lost revenue a “cost,” but understand that a lot of people who may buy gun safes or gun safety devices now are people wouldn’t have bought them if they also had to pay sales tax on them, which means the state wouldn’t have gotten that money anyway, so the state isn’t out anything anyway.

Besides, not getting tax money doesn’t require the bureaucratic overhead that any other kind of incentive a state could offer would require.

Now, do I think this will cause people to flock to stores to buy these devices? Probably not. They either have something or they still can’t afford it.

But with this tax holiday extension, it makes it a bit more tenable for a lot of people and may well, ultimately, save lives.

All without a single infringement on our right to keep and bear arms. Who would have thunk it?

Frankly, this is a model I’d love to see every state embrace. Even anti-gun states should see the wisdom in an approach like this.