HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-61
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD office March 22, 2000


View Congressional Comments On Safer Guns Coalition
View List of Local Communities Participating in the Coalition

WASHINGTON - Officials from 29 cities and counties, and three State Attorneys General today joined with the Clinton Administration to form the Communities For Safer Guns Coalition, which will support purchase preferences by government law enforcement agencies for guns made by companies that have adopted new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards.

The announcement was made in Washington by: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo; White House Domestic Policy Advisor Bruce Reed; Senator Charles Schumer of New York; Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York; Attorneys General J. Joseph Curran of Maryland, Eliot Spitzer of New York, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Mayor Bill Campbell of Atlanta, Mayor Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport, CT and Mayor Blanca Vela of Brownsville, TX. Many of the other elected officials joining the coalition participated in the press conference via telephone.

The following cities announced today that they will support giving a gun purchase preference to any gun maker adopting the new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards agreed to last week by gun maker Smith & Wesson, the Clinton Administration, local governments and attorneys general:

CALIFORNIA: Berkeley, East Palo Alto, Hemet, Inglewood, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jacinto, Santa Barbara. CONNECTICUT: Bridgeport, Stamford. FLORIDA: Miami-Dade County. GEORGIA: Atlanta and Fulton County. HAWAII: Honolulu. INDIANA: Bloomington, Gary. LOUSIANA: New Orleans. MASSACHUSETTS: Boston, Gloucester, Springfield. MICHIGAN: Detroit and Flint. MISSOURI: St. Louis. NEW JERSEY: East Orange and Newark. OHIO: Akron. RHODE ISLAND: Providence. TEXAS: Brownsville. WISCONSIN: Madison.

"As President Clinton has said, governments at every level should use their procurement policies to support manufacturers who take responsible steps to make guns safer and to keep guns out of the wrong hands," Cuomo said. "It's common sense for police to buy guns from a company that makes it harder for criminals to get hold of guns that can be used against police and civilians."

Senator Schumer expressed strong support for the new coalition, saying: "This program should be replicated in every law enforcement agency and I applaud Secretary Cuomo for initiating it. Congress should work with the Administration to see that this initiative applies to all federal agencies and I plan to introduce an amendment to the budget resolution to ensure that happens."

Smith & Wesson - the nation's largest handgun maker - became the first manufacturer to adopt the new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards Friday. Under the agreement, Smith & Wesson agreed to make 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 local governments, federal government, and the Attorneys General of Connecticut and New York agreed to drop pending lawsuits or not bring possible lawsuits against Smith & Wesson.

Governments in the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition are inviting more local governments to join them in their gun purchase preference policy. Representatives from each level of government will reach out to their counterparts.

If other gun makers adopt the same changes made by Smith & Wesson, they will also receive a purchase preference from governments in the Coalition when the governments buy comparable guns for police departments and other law enforcement agencies.

It is estimated that governments at all levels may purchase as many as one-third of the guns manufactured in the United States, so a 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.

Last week Cuomo announced he will propose a regulation encouraging the nation's 3,200 public housing authorities to give preference in their gun purchases to any gun makers that adopt the new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards.

In addition to covering gun purchases by housing authorities, the regulation will encourage the authorities to apply the same requirement to private subcontractors that provide security at housing developments. Purchases by housing authorities will have to be made consistent with all local, state and federal procurement laws and regulations.

The agreement signed by Smith & Wesson requires the company to: 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.

Representatives of the following cities and counties that filed lawsuits against gun manufacturers have approved the agreement and pledged to drop their lawsuits against Smith & Wesson in exchange for the company's landmark reforms: Miami-Dade County, FL; Los Angeles, Inglewood, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, West Hollywood and Berkeley in California; Bridgeport, CT; Atlanta, GA; Camden and Newark in NJ; St. Louis, MO; Detroit, MI; and Gary, IN.; Boston; and New Orleans. More of the remaining 12 local governments with pending lawsuits against gun makers soon could decide to sign the agreement.

The agreement is the product of negotiations between HUD, the Treasury Department and local governments with Smith & Wesson that were designed to settle lawsuits already filed against Smith & Wesson and to make new ones unnecessary.

The agreement is 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.

A commission made up of two representatives from local governments, one from states, one from Smith & Wesson and one selected by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will oversee the agreement.

The Oversight Commission will have the power to notify Smith & Wesson of any gun dealer violations. This notification will trigger penalties against gun dealers by Smith & Wesson and the Commission that could include barring dealers from selling Smith & Wesson products.

Smith & Wesson will also take action, including suspension or termination, against dealers responsible for a disproportionate number of crime gun traces. This provision is designed to focus industry attention on the relatively small number of current dealers that are the source of many guns used in crimes. An estimated 57 percent of guns used in crimes are sold by just 1.2 percent of dealers.

Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts: "I commend Secretary Cuomo for this worthwhile initiative. Gun makers should follow a reasonable and responsible code of conduct, and this new policy by HUD will help to achieve that important goal. I also commend Mayor Tobey and the City of Gloucester for their leadership on this important issue. In addition, Smith & Wesson deserves special credit for its own effective leadership on child-safety locks and other "smart-gun" technology, and for doing so much to help close the notorious gun show loophole."

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts: "Gloucester has adopted a sensible and pragmatic approach to meeting the community's needs: buying guns for the Housing Authority's security forces from a responsible corporate citizen like Smith & Wesson, rather than those companies which continue to avoid even the most common-sense public safety measures. Reducing the level of gun violence in our communities requires the cooperation of gun manufacturers, and Mayor Tobey and the City of Gloucester are proving that they will do what they can to leverage and reward good corporate citizenship. That message should have a ripple effect throughout an otherwise reckless gun industry."

Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey: "The efforts taken by the City of Newark to place pressure on gunmakers is helping implement common-sense gun safety policies that will make our streets safer."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California: "I commend HUD Secretary Cuomo's new initiative and HUD's step forward to ensure gun safety in our communities through a voluntary negotiated gun manufacturer code of conduct. The City of San Francisco should also be commended for taking the first steps to steer needed gun purchases toward responsible gun manufacturers and to reward companies that demonstrate civic responsibility."

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York: "This agreement turned another page in the fight to protect our children around the nation. Today, we focus on best practices. We say to the gun manufacturers if you join Smith & Wesson and follow this code of conduct, then police departments will give you a preference when it comes to purchasing firearms. We are saying "What's good for our cities also good for business."

Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean
East Palo Alto Mayor Sharifa Wilson
Hemet Mayor Lori Van Arsdale
Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn
Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn
San Franciscoz City Atty Louise Renne
San Jacinto Mayor Patrick Williams
Santa Barbara Mayor Harriet Miller
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim
Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy
Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas
Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell
Fulton County County Commissioner Michael Hightower
Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris
Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez
Gary Mayor Scott King
New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial
Boston Mayor Tom Menino
Gloucester Mayor Bruce Tobey
Springfield Mayor Michael Albano
Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer
Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley
St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon
East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser
Newark Mayor Sharpe James
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic
Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci
Brownsville Mayor Blanca Vela
Madison Mayor Sue Bauman


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