HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-97
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 10:00 a.m. Monday
Or contact your local HUD office May 8, 2000


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and Los Angeles City Attorney James Hahn today criticized Texas Governor George Bush for refusing to say if he would support giving gun manufacturers immunity from lawsuits.

If gunmakers received such unprecedented immunity, they would have no incentive to negotiate agreements that are designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children and to make guns safer. So far, Smith & Wesson - the nation's largest handgun manufacturer is the only company that has signed such an agreement. HUD, the U.S. Treasury Department, and state and local governments reached the agreement with Smith & Wesson in March.

Cuomo, Blumenthal and Hahn made their statements in response to news reports that some gun manufacturers will no longer negotiate with the Clinton Administration, cities and states to reach a gun safety agreement like the one reached with Smith & Wesson. The news reports said the gunmakers will await the outcome of the November election in hopes that Governor George W. Bush of Texas will be elected President and outlaw lawsuits against gun manufacturers. News reports said a top official of the National Rifle Association who is supporting Bush for President said: "If we win, we'll have a President....where we work out of their office."

Cuomo said: "It makes no sense to require safety locks on bottles of aspirin but not on guns. It makes no sense to say we can sue the manufacturers of everything except guns for producing an unsafe product. Right now we have the technology to make guns safer and we have the ability to do more to keep them away from children and criminals. Governor Bush should tell the American people and the gunmakers where he stands on this life and death issue, and he should call on gunmakers to resume negotiations to save lives."

"I'm a gun owner myself, and nothing we advocate threatens the rights of law-abiding citizens who own guns," Cuomo added. "We don't want to outlaw guns - we want to keep guns out of the hands of outlaws."

Blumenthal said: "The NRA and the gun industry are trying to stall and stonewall this issue until the November elections, when they hope a presidential candidate is elected who will buy their line lock, stock and barrel. The question for George Bush is whether he will be a tool for the gun lobby. The public demands and deserves an answer. If he really believes in personal responsibility, he'll renounce their reliance on his silence, and support the cause of gun safety that will be espoused so eloquently by a million moms this coming weekend."

Hahn said: "It is a shame that instead of speculating about an election six months from now, the gun industry is not negotiating right now to make their products safer. I believe that this misplaced waiting game will prove counter-productive and will only waste valuable time in reducing gun violence."

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.


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