|HUD No. 00-105|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||May 18, 2000|
CUOMO ANNOUNCES SAFER GUNS COALITION MORE THAN DOUBLES IN SIZE TO 411 COMMUNITIESView the Members of the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that officials from 411 governments around the nation have now joined the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition - up from 190 just three weeks ago.
One of the new Coalition members is Governor Benjamin Cayetano of Hawaii - the first Governor in the Coalition.
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.
A purchase preference by governments for guns that meet certain standards can act as an incentive to manufacturers to adopt those standards - much as the demand for certain types of cars by motorists prompts auto makers to make more such vehicles.
"The Million Mom March showed us that ordinary Americans across this country want swift and sure government action to protect our families from gun violence," Cuomo said. "Government officials who are trying to kill common-sense gun safety measures should remember that they work for the American people - not the NRA - and should join our efforts to save lives, prevent tragedies, and make our nation a safer place."
Cuomo was joined in making today's announcement by: Syracuse, NY Mayor Roy Bernardi; and Davenport, IA Mayor Phil Yerington.
Governor Cayetano said: "Hawaii has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, but I believe our communities could be made even safer if firearms manufacturers acted more responsibly. That's why I am pleased to be the first Governor to pledge my support and join the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition. I urge my fellow governors to pledge their support for the work of the Coalition as a means of reducing gun violence and improving safety in our communities. The fact that the Coalition has spread so rapidly across over 400 communities speaks to its resonance in our lives as Americans who face a common, deadly problem."
Mayor Bernardi said: "Last spring I put forth legislation designed to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons and require trigger locks to secure firearms. I am confident that this local legislation in conjunction with progressive federal efforts such as the Communities for Safer Gun Coalition will make Syracuse a much safer city in which to live and work."
Mayor Yerington said: "We've lost too many Americans to gun violence, neglect, and misuse. The time to stop it is now."
Smith & Wesson - the nation's largest handgun maker - became the first and so far only company to adopt new gun safety 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.
The new gun safety standards are designed to reduce the toll of gun violence, which annually claims over 30,000 lives and injures another 100,000 people in crimes, accidents and suicides around the nation.
Leaders in the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition are inviting more local leaders to join them in committing to gun purchasing criteria that will favor companies that have agreed to significant safety measures. Representatives from each level of government are reaching out to their counterparts.
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.
The agreement signed by Smith & Wesson requires that the company, among other things: 1) Install mandatory gun locks and other child-safety devices on all guns. 2) Introduce "smart gun" technology in all newly designed handguns within three years that allows guns to be fired only by the owner. 3) Bar gun sales - including gun show sales - without a background check of the buyer. 4) Limit the delivery of multiple handgun sales. 5) Stop doing business with dealers responsible for selling a disproportionate number of guns used in crimes.
The agreement is the product of negotiations between the White House, HUD, the Treasury Department and state and local governments with Smith & Wesson that were designed to settle lawsuits already filed against Smith & Wesson and to make new ones unnecessary. Local governments, the federal government, and the Attorneys General of Connecticut and New York agreed to drop pending lawsuits or not bring possible lawsuits against Smith & Wesson after the company adopted the new standards.