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Posted: 4/18/2002 3:01:13 PM EDT
www.smith-wesson.com/misc/dealdrop.html

Saturday, April 13, 2002 By WILLIAM FREEBAIRN

A deal between Smith & Wesson Corp. and the city of Boston that was
described as a landmark gun control agreement has been quietly
dropped by both sides. The city asked a court this week to vacate the
consent decree, which was the only specific deal to emerge following
a high-profile 2000 deal between the gun company and the Clinton
administration.

Although the Boston deal was different in many ways from the federal
agreement, it was described at the time as a model for future accords
between cities and gun companies. The end of the consent decree frees
Smith & Wesson from the requirements that it add internal locking
devices to all of its weapons by December, and spend two percent of
its revenues on research into technology that would allow a gun to be
used only by an authorized user. However, Smith & Wesson said it will
continue to devote money to making safety improvements to its
products.

"We're going to continue to work with Boston; it's a better situation
than litigation," said Kenneth W. Jorgensen, a spokesman for the
Springfield-based gun company.

The deal to drop Smith & Wesson from the requirements of the December
2000 deal generated some of the most conciliatory language in recent
memory from the weapons industry. Lawrence G. Keane, general counsel
for a gun manufacturers' trade organization, welcomed Boston's
decision to drop its lawsuit against other major gunmakers last month
and then abandon the Smith & Wesson consent decree this week. "It's
another bold and courageous step by Boston and the Boston Public
Health Commission," he said.
Link Posted: 4/18/2002 3:01:46 PM EDT
(continued)

The Boston agreement had become dated, said some on both sides,
because many of its safety requirements have become mandatory under
new state consumer laws. "A lot of what was in the Boston agreement
was already Massachusetts law," Keane noted. John E. Rosenthal, the
founder and chairman of Boston-based Stop Handgun Violence, said the
decision by Boston to drop its lawsuits and withdraw the Smith &
Wesson consent decree was practical. Gun regulations in the Bay State
have changed significantly since the consent decree was reached in
December 2000. "I think the (Boston) lawsuit was more important when
the new gun laws and consumer regulations had not yet been upheld by
the courts," he said. Courts have upheld many new safety regulations
and storage requirements for firearms in Massachusetts. Rosenthal
said the stricter laws have reduced the injuries and deaths
attributed to guns.

A significant part of the deal for Smith & Wesson will be the fact
that it frees it from adding new requirements to its dealers and
distributors. The requirement would have prohibited sales of Smith &
Wesson weapons by dealers attending gun shows at which background
checks are not required.

Dealers would have been required to store Smith & Wesson guns in a
locked safe overnight and to train employees in an approved safety
program. Boston would have been able to request a review of dealers
it believed were violating the agreement's provisions, and could have
gone to court to have a dealer barred from selling Smith & Wesson
products. The new rules were to have been included in contracts with
dealers and distributors last year, according to the consent decree.
However, Smith & Wesson never complied with that aspect of the deal,
officials said.
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