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Tennessee's first-ever sales tax holiday on gun safes and safety equipment has started

From July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, buyers won't need to pay sales tax in Tennessee on gun safes or other safety equipment.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the first time, Tennessee will hold a year-long sales tax holiday on devices meant to store guns safely and limit who can use them.

From July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, buyers won't need to pay sales tax in Tennessee on gun safes or other safety equipment.

National data shows around 4.6 million minors live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms. Lawmakers hope making it easier to limit access to those guns will create a safer environment for children and families and prevent thefts.

Gun safes are defined by the state as "a locking container or other enclosure equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or other locking device that is designed and intended for the secure storage of one or more firearms."

A gun safety device can be any device that can be added to a gun to restrict who can use it  "through computerized locking devices or other means integral to and permanently part of the firearm."

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has processed just over 310,000 background check requests for gun sales so far in 2021. That's 21,000 more than this time last year. 

According to Giffords Law Center, more than half of all gun owners store at least one gun unsafely.

National data shows around 4.6 million minors live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms. 

"A lot of first-time buyers will come in and get the gun, ammunition, maybe a holster but never really focus on where to put the gun to keep it out of kids hands, or the wrong hands," said Steve Bowman, owner of Crossroads Firearms in Knoxville, who is encouraged by the tax break.

Bowman says not all gun safes are massive, there are options to buy smaller ones that fit in bedside drawers or glove compartments.

"A lot are spring-loaded, type in your code, and spring will open, it's right there, ready to grab fast and able to use it when you need it," he said.l

For the safety equipment, the tax break will apply to locking devices that can be added to a gun that permits the user to program it to only operate for specific people. 

Both are efforts to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.