HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-68
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Friday
Or contact your local HUD office March 31, 2000


Washington, Philadelphia, Oakland, Buffalo, Kansas City & Richmond - nation's first Project Exile community - are among the ones joining the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition today

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today that 38 more local leaders have joined the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition, joining 29 others who joined the Coalition last week. Communities in the Coalition will support using as a criteria in their gun purchases by government law enforcement agencies whether the guns were made by companies that have adopted new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards.

Elected officials and executives from the following jurisdictions joined the Coalition today: CALIFORNIA: Oakland; San Mateo County. CONNECTICUT: Hartford; Meriden; New Haven; West Haven. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. GEORGIA: East Point. ILLINOIS: East St. Louis; Glendale Heights. INDIANA: Hammond. IOWA: Waterloo. KANSAS: Topeka; the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City; Kansas. MASSACHUSETTS: Brockton; Lawrence; Medford. MICHIGAN: Pontiac. NEW JERSEY: Elizabeth. NEW YORK: Albany; Amsterdam; Babylon Township; Brighton; Buffalo; Glen Cove; Hornell; Ithaca; Madison County; Middletown; Mount Vernon; Orangetown; Rochester; Troy; Westchester County. PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia; Wilkinsburg. VIRGINIA: Richmond; Roanoke. WEST VIRGINIA: Huntington.

"Members of this Coalition will use their considerable purchasing power to encourage gun manufacturers to make a safer product that cannot be easily accessed by criminals and children," Cuomo said. "We hope this will encourage more manufacturers to make a significant commitment to safety."

Washington, DC, Mayor Anthony Williams joined Cuomo during the press conference to announce that the city is dropping its lawsuit against Smith & Wesson. Washington joins 16 other cities and counties that have already settled with Smith & Wesson in exchange for landmark reforms.

Cuomo was also joined for this announcement by Jess Quintero, Executive Director of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association; Richmond, VA, City Manager Calvin Jamison and Police Chief Jerry Oliver; Waterloo, IA, Mayor John Rooff; West Haven, CT, Mayor Richard Borer; Brockton, MA, Mayor John T. Yunits, Jr.; and Wilkinsburg, PA, Mayor Wilbert Young.

Smith & Wesson - the nation's largest handgun maker - became the first manufacturer to adopt the new gun safety and dealer responsibility code on March 17. 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.

Leaders from the following cities and counties joined the Coalition on March 22 in support of adopting gun purchasing criteria that would favor any gun maker agreeing, at a minimum, to the new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards agreed to 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. LOUISIANA: New Orleans. MASSACHUSETTS: Boston, Gloucester, Springfield. MICHIGAN: Detroit and Flint. MISSOURI: St. Louis. NEW JERSEY: East Orange and Newark. OHIO: Akron. RHODE ISLAND: Providence. WISCONSIN: Madison.

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 will reach out to their counterparts.

If other gun makers adopt the same changes made by Smith & Wesson, they will also benefit from the gun purchasing criteria developed by leaders in the Coalition when their governments buy comparable guns at a comparable price 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.

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.

In addition to Washington, DC, 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; Gary, IN; and Boston. More of the remaining 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.


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