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Posted: 3/13/2001 3:58:19 PM EST
LA Times http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010313/tCB00a7032.html Tuesday, March 13, 2001 Gun Control Lobby Looks to States for Action By SUE PLEMING, Reuters WASHINGTON--Faced with a less-sympathetic ear in the White House, America's main gun control group on Tuesday announced a new initiative to persuade states to impose safety standards on the gun industry. Gun control advocates reject suggestions they are losing steam in their fight against guns at the federal level with the arrival of President George W. Bush, but say their battle is likely to focus more than ever on the state level. "We will probably be more active on the state level than before but we are not giving up at the federal level either," Michael Barnes, president of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence and its affiliate, Handgun Control, told Reuters. A California high school shooting eight days ago that left two dead and 13 wounded brought the issue of guns to the forefront again in a country where about 30,000 people die from firearm-related deaths each year. Gun control advocates also point out the rate of firearm deaths among children 14 years and younger is nearly 12 times more than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. The calls for stricter gun controls appeared more muted than usual after last Monday's shooting, with Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, calling for a "code of responsibility" for gun owners rather than tougher action. Former President Clinton was a vocal supporter of the gun control lobby, while Bush leans more toward the views of the powerful National Rifle Association, which says enforcement of current regulations and not new ones is the answer to gun violence. Using Massachusetts as an example, Barnes announced a new push by his group to get states to regulate the gun control industry by using consumer protection laws already in place in at least 20 other states. Massachusetts regulations force gun manufacturers to install gunlocks and built-in child safety devices on all guns. In addition, the state has strict registration and licensing requirements and bans assault weapons. "One of the tragic absurdities of our nation's gun policies is that guns, which take the lives of 30,000 Americans every year, are completely exempt from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission," said Barnes. IMPOSE SAFETY STANDARDS In a report called "Targeting Safety," the center analyzed consumer protection statutes in the states and found 20 of them had the same legal power as Massachusetts to impose safety standards on guns though they did not do it. "This means that state officials have the power right now to save lives by making handguns safer, without the need to enact new laws," Barnes said. The center said it had sent the report to the 20 states and urged them to follow Massachusetts' example and impose stringent consumer regulations on the safety of guns.
Link Posted: 3/13/2001 4:01:06 PM EST
"The National Rifle Association is fond of saying we need to more vigorously enforce existing laws to prevent violence. That's exactly what we are asking states to do," said Barnes. NRA spokesman Bill Powers told Reuters gun control lobbyists were trying to accomplish "via the back door" what they had failed to do through Congress, adding that last November's election results showed how most Americans felt about the issue of guns. Powers said it was "unfair and deceptive" of gun control advocates to say regulations did not already exist to control the gun industry. "Firearms are one of the most heavily regulated products in America," he said. When Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly announced the implementation last April of the first state consumer safety standards for handguns, it was immediately challenged in court by the gun industry. The industry's lawsuit, which argued that Reilly had exceeded his legal authority, reached the state's supreme court which upheld the Attorney General's authority. Reilly welcomed the move to encourage states to follow Massachusetts and said this was a useful approach for the gun control lobby. "The situation in Washington is not encouraging at the moment. But maybe the president will surprise us, I hope so," said Reilly. Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 3/13/2001 4:16:07 PM EST
I really hate the liberal media trying to jumpstart the gun issue.
Link Posted: 3/13/2001 7:32:19 PM EST
When will they learn to shuttt the hellll up.
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