Gun Manufacturer Fell for Smoke Screen

Lisa Dean
March 28, 2000

NEWSMAX–There’s a story that’s been told before but bears repeating. It’s the story of a man who, while walking down a dirt path, encountered a snake that had somehow been injured and pleaded with the man to help him. The man shook his head and said, “I’m not going to touch you. You’re a snake and you’ll bite me.”

But the snake promised that he wouldn’t bite him because he really needed his help. So the man reached down, picked up the snake and proceeded to treat his injuries when all of a sudden, the snake lashed out and bit him! Stunned, the man exclaimed, “You promised that if I helped you that you wouldn’t bite me and you bit me anyway!”

To which the snake replied, “Why are you so surprised? You knew very well what I was when you picked me up.”

Now, let’s say the man in this story is actually United States gun manufacturers and the snake is the Clinton administration. That being the case, you should now have an accurate picture of what the latest story is on our Second Amendment rights in America.

The Clinton Administration has been trying for years to strip Americans of their constitutional right to own guns and little by little, have advanced their cause. Instead of viewing tragedies such as Columbine and other shootings of school children and innocent people as acts committed by mentally unstable people heavily influenced by a godless, secular environment, this administration used them to advance their gun-grabbing agenda.

The major media reported late last week that Smith and Wesson, by far the largest and most well-known gun manufacturer in the United States, struck a deal with the Clinton administration to allow them to continue manufacturing guns. The deal is essentially ideal for an industry that fears the same litigious treatment by the administration and the public with regard to guns that’s currently being endured by the tobacco industry regarding smoking.

The deal is this, in exchange for a promise by the administration granting the company legal immunity and to avoid lawsuits filed by nearly 30 states, cities and counties in an attempt by those governments to recover the losses incurred through gun-related violence, Smith and Wesson will agree to alter the manufacture of their guns.

The guns they manufacture will contain mandatory trigger locks so that while the guns may look threatening, they are actually rendered useless. Also, Smith and Wesson will ensure that background checks take place at both retail establishments and gun shows, that smart gun technology is used so that every gun has a so-called ballistic fingerprint in order for law enforcement to easily detect which bullet was fired from which gun, as well as biometric identification which will enable the gun to be fired only after recognizing the shooter’s fingerprint.

On March 22, it was reported that two other gun manufacturers — Glock, located in Austria, and Browning — have both considered and rejected similar settlements to the one made with Smith & Wesson, which puts a completely different spin on the issue. While Smith & Wesson undoubtedly accepted the administration’s proposal out of fear of having to lose millions of dollars in lawsuits, the other companies took a different approach. They heeded the advice of the organizations, individuals and even their clientele, without whom, the companies wouldn’t be in business anyway.

So the question arises, what is likely to happen to Smith & Wesson? Aside from getting a few days of good press, the company will get no benefit from this deal at all. While it may have been granted immunity from legal action from federal, state and local governments, they are still liable as individuals still have the freedom to sue the industry.

Just look at the tobacco industry. It’s getting slapped with more lawsuits right now than it can handle, many from individuals who lost loved ones to lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

Even if lawsuits weren’t in the equation here, there is still no benefit. The trigger lock technology alone is enough to encourage people to buy from Smith & Wesson’s competitors who have so far refused the compromise. Who wants to be fiddling with a trigger lock while their house is being ransacked or they’re faced with an attacker at three o’clock in the morning?

And as far as background checks go, there is another deterrent. Gun buyers don’t want the federal government keeping their names and personal information stored in databases, as if they are somehow criminals for wanting to exercise their constitutional right to own a gun.

These two policies alone are enough to cause the black market to flourish in this country and the downfall of companies such as Smith & Wesson to be inevitable. The latter is precisely what this administration wants to see happen. It’s happening already to the tobacco industry, now they’re attempting to use the same tactics to bring down the gun industry.

They will have a tougher time though. Gun owners and advocates tend to cherish and defend the Constitution, probably more than any other group of people in the United States.

Smith & Wesson would have been wise to follow the lead of their competitors by listening to their clientele rather than believing the promises made by a snake.

Lisa Dean is vice president of FreeCongress.org’s Center for Technology Policy.

Reproduced with the permission of NewsMax.com. All rights reserved

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