Secure Firearms Act Offers Tax Breaks for Purchasing Gun Safes, Locks

Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-Texas) and fellow HSAS member Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) have introduced the Secure Firearms Act, which would provide up to a $1,200 federal income tax deduction for the purchase of a gun safe, or other safety device, through 2014 as well as prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from using tax deduction claims to produce "any kind of gun ownership registration."

The bill, which has been endorsed by the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, was introduced on May 8 into the House and is expected to pass with little opposition.

"The members of America's firearms industry thank Rep. Carter for his leadership in offering a real bipartisan solution that will help make our families safer," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel in a May 9 statement. "Helping firearms owners responsibly and safely store their firearms when they are not in use so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized and at-risk individuals provides a practical and proven way to increase the safety of our homes and communities."

"The most common factor in the mass shootings over the past years is that people who should not have had access to firearms managed to acquire them anyway," Carter, a former Texas district judge, told the AP. "We don't attempt to address all the reasons for that in this bill, but specifically target better security of firearms by law-abiding citizens through incentives, not mandates."

"As a concealed handgun license holder and strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights, this is a common sense first step towards increasing access for Americans to purchase devices that will prevent the misuse of firearms,"Cuellar said. "While this legislation is not meant to be a 'fix-all', this is a bipartisan idea that Congress should immediately act on. I'm proud to join my fellow Texan and friend, Chairman Carter on this important legislation."

The bill does not mandate gun owners purchase locks or safes, but some fear it could be a precursor for doing so.

"While laudable, I am concerned that this bill could morph from 'encourage' to 'require,'" writes Randy Rowley, president of a 238-member Fellowship of Christian Sportsmen. "The vast majority of our members, like me, own less than 10 guns. We can barely afford the cost of ammo (which is ever increasing), much less new guns. If we will be forced to buy a gun safe (which start at $2000), even with your bill's incentives we could not afford one and would have no alternative other than to sell all of our guns."

This bill, Rowley fears, could be an "effective way of banning guns and, eventually, gun owners."