Five Reasons Why it ISN’T

The Consumer Federation of America (which, as far as I can tell is a bunch of trial lawyers interested in suing anyone that can make them rich) has this nifty little two-page handout on why you should support the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act. Let me fisk:

The Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act would give the Department of Justice consumer protection authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of guns and ammunition.

Right. Regulate them right out of existence.

Here are the top five reasons why this bill is good for America’s gun consumers:

1) This bill would protect gun consumers from being ripped off or injured.

Many gun consumers and bystanders have been injured or killed by defective or hazardously-designed guns. For example:

• One gun consumer took his .22 Ruger revolver with him on a fishing trip. He was sitting on a rock when the gun fell from his holster, struck a rock, and discharged. The bullet lodged in his bladder, damaging vital nerves and rendering him impotent.

The user’s manual specifically recommends leaving the chamber under the hammer empty – precisely for this reason. I’d imagine that was an old-model Single-six. Gun enthusiasts know it, the instruction manual is pretty clear about it. And the manufacturer has since changed the design – voluntarily – and converted all of the older models that customers have sent in for conversion – for free. It’s not the gun’s fault, it’s user error.

• Mike Lewy was unloading his Remington Model 700 rifle in his basement apartment. As he moved the safety to the fire position in order to lift the bolt handle to eject a chambered cartridge, the gun discharged. The bullet went through the ceiling and struck his mother, who was shot in the upper left leg and required hospitalization for more than a month.

User error again. Mike’s an idiot. Rule #1 – always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction. He didn’t. Rule #5 – don’t trust mechanical safeties – they can fail. He should have cleared the weapon outdoors, safely and not tried to do it where it wasn’t safe.

• Carlton Norrell was changing a tire when a close friend, William Kerr, accidentally dropped his .41 Magnum Old Model revolver. The bullet struck Mr. Norrell in the temple and drilled in a straight line across the front of his skull. Mr. Norrell died eight days later.

A .41? I’m amazed he wasn’t dead on the spot. These guys really have it in for Ruger single-actions, don’t they? (And what’s with the dropsies?) It’s a design characteristic of old revolvers. ALL old revolvers. Ruger has since changed the design voluntarily (much to the disgust of purists, many of whom did not have theirs converted.) The modern copies of the Colt Single Action Army will do the same thing if you have a live round under the hammer. The transfer-bar ignition system and the hammer block are relative newcomers to gun design. Frame or hammer-mounted firing pins are found on all older revolvers (single or double-action), and there are a huge number of revolvers out there without either. It’s not a design flaw, and you cannot convince me that a Federal bureaucracy would have accelerated the implementation of the design change. But this legislation could force, for example, Smith & Wesson to retrofit literally millions of old guns at their own expense, thus bankrupting the company. But we’re not supposed to understand that.

This bill would give the Department of Justice authority to set safety standards; require gun manufacturers to repair, replace, recall, or refund the purchase price of defective guns; and to mandate warnings.

And the Department of Justice is qualified to set those standards, why? The gun industry already repairs, replaces, and recalls defective guns voluntarily. Read some of the gun magazines sometime. The recall notices are not common, but they are there. For example this recall of the Vektor pistol. Now THAT’s a defective gun, and why the CFA didn’t use it as an example is beyond me (unless, of course, no one was actually SHOT with one accidentally.) Now, why is it necessary for the Justice Department to get involved again?

This bill would also require that all guns be labeled to ensure that defective guns could be identified and traced.

They are already. By federal law all firearms are marked with a serial number that is recorded with the BATFE. But you’re not supposed to know that.

Currently, the only protection gun consumers are afforded against manufacturers of defective guns is to file a lawsuit after the victim has been injured or killed.

Excuse me, but isn’t that “the only protection” consumers have for defective products now? You’re not changing anything except adding another layer of bureaucracy on top. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

2) This bill would provide gun consumers with much-needed information.

Currently there exists no coordinated data collection on gun injuries and deaths that includes vital information such as the specific type of gun, caliber and source. This legislation would create a Firearms Violence Information and Research Clearinghouse to collect and analyze data regarding gun-related death and injury. This kind of data is essential to identify guns that are exceptionally likely to be involved in gun-related injury or death, and to notify gun consumers of the risks associated with such guns.

Yes, I’m sure that would be it’s only purpose. Let’s spend a few hundred million to find out that most gun deaths are attributable to old Smith & Wesson .38’s and inexpensive 9mm automatics (homicide and suicide), and that most accidental gun deaths are hunting related. That’ll be swell.

3) This bill would give gun consumers a voice in the regulatory process.

Currently, gun consumers have no say in the few voluntary standards developed by the industry. This legislation gives gun consumers a voice in the regulatory process by allowing them to petition the Attorney General of the Justice Department to amend or enforce specific regulations.

Um, I’m a “gun consumer” and the last thing I want is a bill allowing the general public “a voice in the regulatory process.” We’re outnumbered by the general population and this is an open door to regulating firearms out of existence. Maryland, for example, is doing exactly that with its performance requirements that restrict what guns can be sold there. The requirements have cause Beretta, for example, to stop selling there. You know – Beretta. The company that makes the sidearm carried by US military forces worldwide. Not safe enough for Maryland.

4) This bill would shield gun consumers from unreasonably unsafe products.

Currently, no federal agency has the authority to ban firearms technology that poses an unreasonable threat to gun consumers and the public. The bill authorizes the Department of Justice to ban the manufacture and transfer of specific guns and related products only if the agency determines that no other remedy would prevent unreasonable risk of injury.

(Deep breath:)THEY’RE FIREARMS! THEY ARE DEVICES DESIGNED TO HURL SMALL METAL PROJECTILES AT HIGH VELOCITY IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION THE BARREL IS POINTED! Now, define “unreasonably unsafe.” I’d imagine that, for the Department of Justice, that would eventually end up meaning “going BANG! when the trigger is pulled.”

Currently, gun manufacturers get around federal limits by cosmetically altering restricted guns to pass a basic “sporting purposes” test. This bill authorizes the Department of Justice to set uniform standards for guns with legitimate sporting purposes to distinguish them from guns prone for criminal use, such as modified assault weapons.

THERE we go! Let me translate that for you: “The legislature wasn’t able to pass a bill that really outlawed those eeeeevil assault weapons, so we need to set up a bureaucracy that can, without legislative oversight, ban any gun they decide looks too eeeeeevil. ” For instance, the recently introduced Smith & Wesson X-frame .500 S&W Magnum revolver that got so many gun-grabbers panties in a wad would be fodder for this kind of “uniform standards” restriction.

5) This bill would safeguard access to guns with legitimate sporting purposes.

And last I checked, the Second Amendment doesn’t say a damned thing about “sporting purposes.”

Just say “NO” to the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act. It’s not about safety, and it’s not about protecting firearm consumers. It’s about restricting the right to arms some more.

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