Virginia to offer firearm safety device tax credit under new law

The tax credit takes effect in July and applies to taxable years 2023 through 2027.

Updated: March 25, 2023 - 11:23pm

Virginia will offer a tax credit for the purchase of a firearm safety device, including gun safes and lock boxes, under a bill signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin this week.

Under the tax credit, which takes effect in July and applies to taxable years 2023 through 2027, Virginians who purchase a gun safe, lock box or other device that can be used to store a firearm can be eligible for a tax credit of up to $300. The credits will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis in an aggregate amount of $5 million per taxable year.

While most firearm-related measures introduced in the General Assembly this session were defeated, this bill, HB 2387, passed with broad bipartisan support. It was also supported by both the National Rifle Association and Everytown for Gun Safety.

In a statement to The Center Square, the bill’s author Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington, called the measure “a significant step in the right direction towards addressing safe storage of firearms.”

“I thank Governor Youngkin for signing into law this common sense and bipartisan bill,” Lopez said. “There is so much more we need to do to promote sensible gun violence prevention in Virginia. I hope this signals an openness to finding a path forward on common sense gun violence prevention measures that can save lives in our Commonwealth.”

The bill was introduced on the heels of a shooting at a Virginia elementary school, where a 6-year-old student shot and wounded his teacher with a 9mm handgun owned by his mother. A lawyer for the child’s mother previously said the gun was secured on the top shelf of the mother’s closet, as reported by the Associated Press.

According to statistics from Everytown for Gun Safety – a gun violence prevention organization – 1,121 people die by guns in Virginia on average each year. Between 2012 and 2021, the rate of gun deaths in Virginia increased 42% compared to a nationwide increase of 39%.

Research indicates safe firearm storage can help prevent gun deaths and injuries among children. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, according to an analysis published in 2022 from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Democratic lawmakers in the General Assembly introduced several bills this year surrounding gun safety in the commonwealth, including bills to prohibit individuals from carrying assault weapons in certain public areas and prohibit the sale of unserialized weapon parts, better known as “ghost guns.” Some Republican lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal state gun laws.

Most measures introduced by both Republicans and Democrats surrounding firearms were killed in the politically-divided General Assembly this session.

Representatives from the NRA and Everytown for Gun Safety could not be reached for comment regarding the governor signing HB 2387.