State Rep. Mark Tisdel today led a bipartisan coalition of legislators in sponsoring a plan to encourage gun owners to follow safe practices by incentivizing training and secure weapon storage.
Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills, said tax credits for expenses related to safety training and equipment, as well as criminal and civil defense protections conditioned upon safe storage, will promote firearm safety in Michigan.
“Safe storage is important not only to secure firearms against those who would take and use them for evil, but also to prevent tragic accidents involving children,” Tisdel said. “Through liability protections and tax savings, our bipartisan plan will encourage smart, safe habits by responsible gun owners. The plan clearly lays out best practices for storing weapons securely, spreading a legal safety net for people who follow them. Tax credits will help people pay for storage equipment and training about proper gun storage and handling.
“Finding common ground to prevent death and injury from abused and misused weapons must be a priority. These bipartisan policy proposals will help initiate a serious discussion about how to make Michigan safer.”
Two bills in the bipartisan package would encourage safe storage practices by establishing additional defenses against criminal and civil liability for responsible gun owners. Tisdel’s House Bill 6350 would allow secure storage of a legally obtained and owned firearm to serve as a complete defense in a criminal case against a gun’s owner or a person legally authorized to use the gun by the owner, if the charges result because a different person used the weapon to commit a crime. The bill lays out clear protocols for safe, secure storage to protect against access or use by a person other than the owner or legal authorized user. HB 6351, sponsored by Rep. Jim Ellison, D-Royal Oak, would similarly allow a gun owner to raise an affirmative defense in a civil suit over harm to a person or property inflicted with the weapon by an unauthorized user, provided that the owner stored the firearm securely.
HB 6352, introduced by Rep. Tim Sneller, D-Burton, would also incentivize safe storage in the home by providing a tax credit of up to $350 per year for the purchase of safety equipment, such as safes, lock boxes, and trigger locks.
To support safety training for gun owners, HB 6353, sponsored by Rep. Mike Harris, R-Clarkston, would offer participants a $350 tax credit for training expenses. To be eligible for the tax credit in a given year, a person must have completed a certified course with at least four hours of instruction covering safe storage, use, and handling; ammunition knowledge; fundamentals of firearm shooting; laws related to firearm use; and avoiding criminal attack and controlling a violent situation. The course must include instruction and shooting at a gun range.
HBs 6350 and 6351 were referred to the House Judiciary Committee. HBs 6352 and 6353 were referred to the House Tax Policy Committee.
“Transparency empowers the people of Michigan to observe what their government leaders are doing and hold them accountable,” Tisdel said. “As state representative, I’ve championed sunshine reforms to open more of our state government to Michiganders’ watchful eyes.”
“Michigan tax collectors have exploited a vague tax code to burden small businesses with unfair taxes and legal hurdles,” said Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills. “These costs not only hurt our local business owners, but they also create higher prices for customers.”
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