SB-243 seeks to prevent unauthorized access to firearms by establishing a tax exemption from state sales tax (approximately 3.9%) for firearms safety devices.
Under existing law, with limited exceptions, all firearms purchased in California must be accompanied with a firearms safety device (FSD) that has passed required safety and functionality tests and is listed on the CA Department of Justice (DOJ) official roster of DOJ-approved firearm safety devices. These devices can be as simple as a steel cord threaded through the receiver of the device and locked with a key, to a gun safe or lock box.
Across the country states like Maine and Texas have incentivized safe gun storage through combinations of mandates and tax breaks on FSDs. A similar bipartisan tax exemption for FSDs in Tennessee was supported by the National Association of Pediatrics and many gun owning groups. The CA DOJ recommends that the safest and most secure method of gun storage is a combination of individual gun locks and a safe or other storage container. The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the U.S. DOJ have partnered with law enforcement departments in communities in nearly every state to provide free cable locks for firearms.
Despite nationwide attention, education, mandates, and resources an estimated 54% of firearms are still left unlocked and available to unauthorized users. According to the California Attorney General, there were over 1 million gun sales in the state in 2020 alone, half of which were handguns.
SB-243 is a way to ensure that every responsible gun owner has the best possible gun safety equipment through a sales tax exemption for firearms safety devices which will prevent acts of gun violence, suicide, and gun crimes resulting from theft and misuse.