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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.

The House Finance subcommittee also killed bills that sought to offer tax credits to electric vehicle buyers (HB 469), private school scholarship donors (HB 1078) and solar equipment users (HB 256).

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.

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