Gun-Safety Measures Focused on Storage Win Bipartisan Backing

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High Schoolers at Alderdice High School in Pittsburgh, PA. protest school shootings. Photo by Mark Dixon via Flickr

Republicans and Democrats have backed measures focused on gun safety storage, one of the ripest areas for bipartisan consensus, as it is intended to protect children and prevent suicides without restricting the ability of gun owners to buy a firearm, reports the Wall Street Journal. Both parties backed a measure that would provide a tax incentive to retailers each time they sell a device, such as a gun safe or lock, meant to securely store a firearm.

The legislation would give retailers a tax credit worth 10 percent of the cost of the safe storage device, with a maximum credit of $40 per device. GOP lawmakers have also picked up some Democratic support for legislation from Rep. Tom Rice (R., S.C.) that would allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s background check examiners to more easily access information from the National Data Exchange, which aggregates criminal records and can be tapped as part of the national background checks system.

Lawmakers of both parties are also pursuing “red flag” laws, which would allow courts to temporarily take guns from people deemed dangerous.

Roughly 4.6 million children, or 7 percent of U.S. children, lived in homes in which at least one firearm was stored loaded but unlocked, according to a 2015 survey reported in the Journal of Urban Health.

Roughly 75 percent of school shootings are facilitated by minors having access to unsecured guns, according to Brady, a group focused on reducing gun violence. Some Republicans said they prefer using the system of tax incentives over legislation backed by many Democrats that would set federal standards for safe gun storage while Democrats who support safe-storage legislation said that such measures wouldn’t do nearly enough to tackle the problem of gun violence.

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