New bill would lower sales tax for gun safes, locks

(The Center Square) – A new bill would make buying a gun safe less expensive, but a tax expert said carve-outs won’t address issues with the state’s sales tax.

State Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, sponsored House Bill 316, which would lower the sales tax on gun safes to 1%. State Rep. Jeff Keicher is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“Republicans and Democrats need to work together more on common-sense measures to keep families safe and reduce the prevalence of tragic incidents when young children get ahold of firearms stored in the home and inadvertently harm themselves or others,” Keicher said in a statement. “I am very pleased to be working with Rep. Mason to pass legislation that will make it more affordable for individuals and families to purchase a gun safe by cutting the sales tax rate to 1%.”

Mason said the bill would encourage responsible gun storage.

“Owning a gun can help residents feel better protected in their homes, but if firearms aren’t stored properly and treated with care, they can actually make households more dangerous,” Mason said in a statement. “Unintentional shooting deaths are significantly higher in states where gun safety equipment is used less often, and sadly, the majority of individuals who die in these incidents are children or young adults.”

The idea behind the bill is to make gun safes and locks cheaper to own in hopes of lowering the risks of gun accidents. Mason and Keicher said they are hoping that lowering the sales tax will lead to more people buying and properly storing guns.

Ulrick Boesen, a spokesperson for the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, said that from a tax perspective, the bill won’t do much.

“Introducing these carve-outs for individual products makes the sales tax less effective on what it is there to do,” he said. “We need to look at the overall sales tax for all products rather than individual products.”

House Bill 316 sits with the Rules Committee and is gaining sponsors. State Reps. Suzanne Ness, D-Carpentersville, and Katie Stuart, D-Collinsville, have also signed on as co-sponsors.

If passed, the tax decrease will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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