Georgia House Passes Tax Credit for Gun Safety Bill

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

In government, there are two approaches one can take to getting people to behave a certain way. 

One is to simply mandate or prohibit certain things. This is likely to rile a lot of people up because, frankly, we're Americans. We don't like being told what to do, especially if we want to do something else. 


Taking such an approach can be controversial and can create some serious legislative fights.

Or, you can do things that simply encourage that particular behavior. This tends to be a bit less controversial because it's not dictating who does what. Instead, it uses incentives to get people to do a thing but doesn't cross the line into telling them what they had to do.

Which brings us to gun safety.

Not "gun safety" as a euphemism for gun control but actual gun safety. 

You see, in Georgia, they just passed a bill out of the state House to encourage gun safety.

Separate gun bills passed by the Georgia House of Representatives Tuesday would provide a tax credit to pay for gun safety training and gun safes, while another would prohibit financial institutions from using a code to distinguish firearms retailers.

The tax credit bill received bipartisan support, passing the chamber by a vote of 162-3. It provides a state income tax credit of up to $300 that could be used to pay for training and gun storage devices.

This is a smart move because there are profound incentives to get people to take care of things they really should do anyways.


Plus, it'll encourage even those of us who have undergone gun safety classes to do it again or to get more gun storage we might skip otherwise.

But not everything passed was uncontroversial.

But Democrats decried the second bill banning the merchant code as a giveaway to the gun lobby that would make the state less safe.


Merchant category codes exist for almost every kind of purchase, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops and many other retailers. In 2022, Visa and other credit card companies said they would adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for gun sales, though they later put that decision on hold in the face of opposition from the gun lobby and conservative politicians.

First, let's understand that the merchant codes wouldn't really detail who is buying guns versus who is just shopping at a store that sells guns.

In fact, that's part of the problem here. If I buy up a ton of fishing equipment at a local sporting goods store and never even look at the guns--I know, that's unlikely, but roll with me here--the fact that a code shows that I spent a lot at a gun store might set off some red flags for someone.


The next thing I know, I'm getting a knock at the door about buying a ton of guns when I didn't buy a single one.

It's an effort to create a de facto gun registry outside of the government and a lot of us aren't thrilled with the idea.

But it won't stop so-called gun crime because most criminals aren't buying guns from gun stores. Even mass shooters aren't buying anything beyond what a lot of non-killers are buying when they show up at a gun store, making it less likely for anyone to see anything that would keep anyone safer.

It's just a way to keep a check on us lawful gun owners, and I'm glad Georgia is taking this step.

Either way, both bills will head to the Senate where I hope they both get passed quickly and then signed by the governor.

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