Panel won’t remove sales tax on gun safes
RICHMOND – A legislative subcommittee Friday killed a bill to remove the sales tax on safes where gun owners can store their firearms – a measure the sponsor said would promote gun safety.
Split along party lines, the subcommittee of the House Finance Committee voted 5-3 to reject HB 172, which would have made firearm storage safes that cost $1,000 or less exempt from sales tax.
“We have the ability to save lives and protect innocent children should the guns be found,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax.
Supporters said the measure would boost the conversation about gun safety in the community and perhaps give gun owners who do not own a gun safe reason to buy one.
“Our goal here is to prevent death, accidents and to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Filler-Corn said.
The bill’s opponents said many gun owners don’t use safes because trigger locks are cheaper and more effective. A package of three trigger locks can be purchased for $25 or less while a single-gun safe often costs $100 or more.
However, the panel ran out of time to consider four bills proposing a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. Many members of the audience had come to support the “tampon tax” bills and were frustrated when the meeting adjourned.
“It was definitely a coordinated effort to keep our women’s rights agenda off the record,” said Holly Seibold of the Virginia Menstrual Equity Coalition.