Michigan Senate Approves Sales Tax Exemption for Gun Safety Devices
- Sep 18, 2015 | Gail Cole
The Michigan State Senate has passed legislation that would create a temporary sales tax exemption for firearm safety devices. If enacted, it could reduce state revenue annually by approximately $1 million. From the outset, the measure has been strongly supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Senate Bill 364 reads in pertinent part:
Upon the retail sale or transfer of a firearm, the seller shall provide a written notice to the purchaser and shall post in a conspicuous manner at all points of sale on the premises where firearms are sold a notice that says the following: “The State of Michigan has exempted the sale of firearm safety devices from the sales and use tax imposed by this state through December 31, 2017.”
A realistic way to promote safety?
The notification requirement is unusual. According to the supporting argument for the legislation, “The State should be doing all it can to promote gun safety.” More gun safety devices should mean fewer accidental shootings and “fewer firearms being stolen and later used for crimes.” The temporary nature of the tax exemption “could encourage people to buy these safety devices before the tax break expired.”
Those opposed to the legislation argue that most gun safety devices are inexpensive and therefore tax breaks would not be substantial enough to sway behavior. However, the exemption would effectively deprive the School Aid Fund of needed revenue.
The opposing argument also references other safety equipment (bike helmets, car seats, smoke detectors) that save lives and reduce injury and yet are not sales tax exempt (Bill Analysis).
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