Tennesseans: You Can Purchase Safes Tax Free

Tennesseans: You Can Purchase Safes Tax Free

As a native Tennessean, I remember when the notion of the Sales Tax Holiday was introduced. It was met with a mix of criticism and enthusiasm, but the concept was simple: for one weekend, back to school supplies and clothing would be sales tax free. The program has persisted and gives thousands of Tennesseans the ability to get much needed supplies at a much lower cost.

In 2021, the Tennessee State Legislature introduced additions to the Tax-Free holiday weekend. Now residents could get food, food ingredients, and prepared food tax free that weekend. But the biggest addition lasts longer than one weekend. From July 1st, 2021 to June 30th, 2022, Tennesseans can purchase gun safes, gun cabinets, and gun safety devices tax free. That’s right: for the next year there is no state sales tax on gun safes in the state of Tennessee. For many, that’s a massive savings on a very expensive and vital item for gun storage and peace of mind.

So why is it important to have a safe? Couldn’t you just hide your gun somewhere where no one will find it? These are questions many new gun owners might ponder. They might believe that safes are bulky and expensive but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A safe or secure storage device for firearms is vital in homes and even vehicles of gun owners. Keeping your firearm secure from unauthorized use in an important part of gun safety and ownership.

Let’s look at the craziness of the past 18 months for example. In the midst of toilet paper and paper towel shortages, sales of firearms and ammo skyrocketed. Uncertainty and unrest fueled an estimated 8.4 million people to purchase a firearm for the first time in their lives.[i]

In fact, the five highest weeks of NICS background checks since 1998 (when they started tracking this data) occurred in a pandemic influenced United States. [ii]

What does that mean? With over 8 million new gun owners, there are more firearms in hands of people who might not have the same training and knowledge of experienced owners and shooters.

And that is absolutely ok; experienced gun owners are more than happy to help others learn and be smart with their firearms and many ranges offer classes for any experience level.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll posts infographics with safety tips for first time owners on our social media pages. But the biggest safety tip we can offer is this:

Secure your firearms.

By securing your firearms, you’re keeping your guns out of the hands of children, thieves, and unauthorized family members. One argument we’ve heard before is, “I’ve taught my kids to respect guns and stay away from them.” Just because you’ve taught your child that doesn’t mean their friends have been given the same lesson. When I was a kid, I knew where my dad’s guns were – in his safe. And yes he taught me gun safety and how to shoot (he bought me a gun when I was 12). He always told me that the guns were to be respected. They were never toys for me to play with and that’s why he kept them in his safe.

My dad’s safe was in a location that was out of sight but still easy to get to. If someone tried to break in, it wouldn’t have been an issue getting to the guns. He’s not as spritely as he was when I was a kid so he’s now added two other quick access handgun safes in the house that he and my mom can access if they need to. It’s peace of mind for him knowing that his guns are secure and still accessible when he needs them.

The desire to securely store firearms knows no political party, age, race, gender, etc. It’s a desire stemmed from protecting loved ones from accidental injury or theft. Nashville’s WSMV News 4 spoke with gun owners to gauge their opinions on the program. “I think it’s a good idea, [a] lot [of people have] been buying guns and the price has gone up, hard to find stuff now,” gun owner Mario Pukl told the news outlet. “Giving them tax break is a good idea to be safe and purchase safety equipment.”

WSMV was told by another gun owner that he plans to upgrade his safe and safety equipment thanks to the tax holiday.  ” I would upgrade to better safe,” he said. “It’s more important than owning a gun, if you don’t have safety you shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”[iii]

These secure storage devices range in price from $25 to over $2000 but the security they offer is worth the money. They can be as small as a TSA approved pistol case or as large as (or even larger than) a 72-gun fire safe. For areas that are flood prone, there are several high gun capacity safes that offer waterproof protection. There are safes that can travel under car seats, mount on walls, or hide in closets. There’s a safe for every lifestyle and need.

Firearm sales show no signs of cooling, especially for first time buyers. As of March 2021, background checks were still significantly higher than previous years.[iv] Tennessee sees those increases and recognizes the need to help new firearm owners get the secure storage they need. Learn more about Tennessee’s Sales Tax Holiday on safes by visiting https://www.tn.gov/revenue/taxes/sales-and-use-tax/sales-tax-holiday/sth-gun-safety.html.

[i] Denham, Hannah & Ba Tran, Andrew, Fearing violence and political uncertainty, Americans are buying millions more firearms. Washington Post (2021) https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/02/03/gun-sales-january-background-checks/

[ii] Denham, Hannah & Ba Tran, Andrew, Fearing violence and political uncertainty, Americans are buying millions more firearms. Washington Post (2021) https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/02/03/gun-sales-january-background-checks/

[iii] Gilchriest, Zach, Tennessee holding year-long tax-free holiday for gun safety equipment, WSMV News 4 (2021) https://www.wsmv.com/news/tennessee-holding-year-long-tax-free-holiday-for-gun-safety-equipment/article_4689f236-c44b-11eb-9346-03bce5715e5b.html

[iv] Diaz, Jaclyn, 1st-time gun buyers help push record US gun sales amid string of mass shootings. NPR (2021) https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/989699122/1st-time-gun-buyers-help-push-record-u-s-gun-sales-amid-string-of-mass-shootings