US Mayor Article

Communities For Safer Guns Coalition Doubles to 411 Members

By Ed Somers
May 29, 2000

Officials from 411 local governments and states, including the first governor Hawaii’s Ben Cayetano, have now joined the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition - up from 190 three weeks ago.

In a press conference on May 18, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo was joined by a number of state and local officials in announcing the growth of the coalition including Syracuse, NY Mayor Roy Bernardi and Davenport, IA Mayor Phil Yerington.

Local officials in the Coalition sign a pledge saying they support giving favorable consideration to making purchases from gun manufacturers that have adopted a set of new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards. The preference applies to comparable weapons available at a comparable price that meet law enforcement agency needs.

Smith & Wesson - the nation’s largest handgun maker - became the first and so far only company to adopt the new standards March 17, in a landmark agreement with the Clinton Administration and state and local officials. The standards require major changes in the design, distribution and marketing of guns to make them safer and to help keep them out of the hands of children and criminals.

If other gun makers adopt the same code of conduct agreed to by Smith & Wesson, they will also get favorable consideration by Coalition members in the purchase of guns for law enforcement agencies.

Gun Industry Lawsuit and Congressional Action

As previously reported, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and seven gun manufacturers have filed a lawsuit against Cuomo, three state attorneys general and mayors and other local officials charging them with illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade as a result of the Coalition activities.

In addition, efforts are now underway in Congress to block federal agencies from providing gun purchasing preferences. While HUD is urging local housing authorities to provide a purchasing preference, no major federal law enforcement agency or military branch has said that it will provide a preference. Regardless, the House Armed Services Committee has approved a provision which would prevent the Defense Department from providing a purchasing preference.

Also, an effort is underway to deny any federal funds from being provided to the Commission which is to be established to monitor the Smith & Wesson agreement.

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