Child Firearm Deaths in Tennessee Prompt Groundbreaking Gun Safety Bill
To address the alarming rise in child firearm deaths, Tennessee's House Majority Leader William Lamberth introduced a groundbreaking bill during the upcoming special session. The state has been grappling with a distressing statistic - 85 children lost their lives to gunfire in a single year. Lamberth's proposed solution, co-sponsored under HB7012, is a multi-faceted approach to promote responsible gun ownership and prevent future tragedies.
Free Firearm Locks for All Tennessee Gun Owners
Central to the bill is free firearm locks for all Tennessee residents who own guns. This essential step ensures that firearms are properly secured when not in use, reducing the risk of accidents and unauthorized access. In tandem, the legislation mandates that state-approved handgun safety courses incorporate comprehensive lessons on safe firearm storage. By equipping gun owners with the knowledge and tools to handle their weapons responsibly, the bill strives to make a meaningful impact on gun-related accidents.
Making Secure Firearm Storage Accessible
Moreover, the proposed bill seeks to incentivize responsible firearm storage by eliminating the retail sales tax on gun safes and firearm safety devices. This move, set to take effect from November 1, aims to make the acquisition of secure storage options more accessible to all gun owners, further enhancing safety standards.
Tennessee's Child Firearm Deaths Higher Than National Average
The urgency of this bill is underscored by a recent state report that identified guns as the leading cause of child deaths in Tennessee in 2021. Shockingly, the state's child firearm death rate was found to be 36.4% higher than the national average. Even more concerning is the revelation that 93% of these tragic deaths were likely preventable with appropriate safety measures in place.
"Firearms and Ammunition - As introduced, directs the department of safety to provide free firearm locks to Tennessee residents upon request; requires department-approved handgun safety courses to contain instruction on the safe storage of firearms; exempts the retail sale of firearm safes and firearm safety devices from sales and use taxes beginning November 1, 2023" - Tennessee House Bill 7012
Honoring the Second Amendment While Saving Children's Lives
While state leaders have voiced skepticism about passing a bill restricting gun access during the special session, the introduction of Lamberth's innovative approach signifies a step in the right direction. By focusing on education, accessibility, and responsible ownership, Tennessee's proposed gun safety bill seeks to honor the Second Amendment while safeguarding the lives of its youngest residents. As the state grapples with the troubling impact of child firearm deaths, this legislation serves as a beacon of hope for a safer future.