Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced the Prevent Family Fire Act of 2019 with Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Kim Schrier (D-WA, MD), and Mike Turner (R-OH). The bipartisan bill will help reduce gun violence - including suicide and accidental shootings - by providing a modest tax credit for retailers to incentivize the sale of safe storage devices for firearms.
The Prevent Family Fire Act provides a tax credit to retailers, for external devices sold in the United States that are designed and marketed to deny unauthorized access to, or render inoperable, a firearm or ammunition, and secured by a combination, key, or biometric lock. The credit is equal to 10 percent of cost at sale, with a maximum credit of $40 per device sold.
"There is an epidemic of gun violence in our country, and we must come together -- both Democrats and Republicans -- to save lives," said Rep. Levin. "We need to do more to address gun violence, and this bipartisan bill is a strong step we can take in the meantime to reduce unintentional discharges, suicides, and school shootings. I am incredibly proud to introduce this legislation with colleagues from both sides of the aisle, and I'll continue to fight every single day to advance legislation that reduces gun violence."
"Firearm safety is extremely important and encouraging the sale of more gun safes will help increase safety," said Rep. Davis. "I always encourage the responsible ownership of firearms. These are the kinds of bipartisan solutions we need to help reduce suicide, accidental shootings, theft of firearms, and other instances of gun violence."
"Every year, thousands of people die as a result of gun violence. I'm proud to help introduce this effort to advance bipartisan legislation that will ultimately save lives," said Rep. Boyle. "Statistics show that an average of eight children are injured or killed every day due to improperly stored firearms. Firearm safe storage is a proven commonsense step that would make a difference. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill."
"Reducing gun violence by incentivizing retailers to sell safe storage devices for firearms is a bipartisan measure that will save lives," said Congresswoman Stefanik. "Studies show that the majority of suicide attempts by guns are done by accessing a firearm that was already in the home of the individual or their relative. This legislation will help prevent both suicide attempts and accidental gun deaths, and I'm proud to be a part of this bipartisan and lifesaving effort."
"While this bill will reduce all types of gun violence, as a pediatrician I am specifically focused on reducing accidental shootings and suicides in the home," said Rep. Schrier, M.D. "The age of children with the highest rates of unintentional gun deaths is three years old. It shouldn't be easier for a child to access a gun than it is for them to get into an iPhone. Parents need to make sure that all firearms are secured in the home to prevent these senseless, preventable deaths."
"I support our Second Amendment right and we must work to promote responsible gun safety," said Rep. Turner. "I am proud to cosponsor this bill to incentivize safe storage devices for firearms."
"Serving in combat as a Marine, we were always vigilant against friendly fire, to protect our brothers and sisters in arms," said Brady Vice President of Programs Kyleanne Hunter. "As a gun owner in civilian life, I know we must do whatever we can to protect against family fire -- death or injury resulting from an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home. Every day, eight children and teens are shot unintentionally and 60 Americans will be lost to suicide by gun. By providing incentives for safe firearms storage device sales, we can help prevent one of the greatest contributors to injury-related death in America, and we are proud to stand behind Representatives Levin, Davis, Boyle, Stefanik, Schrier, and Turner for the introduction of this lifesaving legislation."
"Safe storage of firearms combined with educating gun owners about suicide warning signs can help reduce suicide deaths," said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Therefore, we are encouraged by Congressional efforts to provide incentives for safe storage of firearms."
"We know that means safety, especially safe storage of firearms and ammunition, can absolutely save the lives of those in emotional crisis," said Colleen Creighton, Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology. "When a person is experiencing a suicidal crisis, minutes can make all the difference, and encouraging safe storage practices dramatically increases the likelihood someone will survive such a crisis. Incentivizing the sale of safe firearm storage devices is a brilliant way for retailers to help folks ensure they're prioritizing safety in their homes. AAS applauds Representatives Levin, Stefanik, Davis, and Boyle in this important and critical bipartisan effort."
Over 75 percent of school shootings involve kids and teens having access to unsecured or unsupervised guns at home, and more than 80 percent of guns used by youth in suicide attempts were kept in the home of the victim, a relative, or a friend. Keeping firearms safely stored reduces the chances of family fire by 73 percent, and according to a study released this year, even a modest intervention that motivates households to safely store guns could reduce youth firearm deaths by up to 32 percent.