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Historic Agreement with Smith & Wesson

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The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 17, 2000


  • Today, President Clinton will highlight an historic agreement with Smith and Wesson to build on his comprehensive efforts to reduce gun violence in America. The agreement represents an unprecedented partnership between the government and the gun industry to bring about meaningful reforms in the way the industry does business.

  • Since the beginning of his Administration, President Clinton has been working on every front to reduce gun violence and keep our communities safe. Since signing the historic Brady Law and 1994 assault weapons ban, the President has continued to fight for more tools to protect citizens from gun violence. President Clinton took recent executive action to crack down on unscrupulous gun dealers who sell guns to criminals and youth, and has continued to lead the national fight for common-sense gun safety legislation.

  • As part of this effort, President Clinton last December called on gun manufacturers to work with the Administration to make needed changes in the way they do business. Today, Smith and Wesson -- one of the nation's largest gun manufacturers -- joined the federal government and cities and states across the country in a landmark agreement that will keep guns out of the wrong hands and result in safer guns.

  • Todayís agreement represents the first time a major gun manufacturer has committed to fundamentally change the way guns are designed, distributed and marketed. This deal shows what is possible when we work together in good faith. We applaud Smith and Wesson's leadership, and hope other responsible members of the gun industry will step forward too.

  • Some of the key provisions of the agreement include:

New design standards to make guns safer and prevent accidental shootings and gun deaths

  • Locking devices. Safety locking devices will be required for handguns and pistols, external locking devices within 60 days and internal locking devices within 24 months.

  • Smart guns. Two percent of annual firearms revenues will be dedicated to the development of authorized user technology that can limit a gunís use to its proper owner. Authorized user technology will be included in all new firearm models within 36 months.

  • Large capacity magazines. New firearms will not be able to accept ammunition magazines with a capacity of over 10 rounds. The manufacture of such magazines has been prohibited since 1994.

  • Safety testing and standards. All firearms are to be tested by ATF to ensure that they meet performance and safety standards such as drop tests.

  • Other safety devices. Within one year, all pistols will have chamber load indictors to show that a pistol is loaded to prevent accidents, and magazine disconnectors will be available to customers within 12 months.

New sales and distribution controls to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and help law enforcement crack down on illegal gun traffickers. Under the deal, manufacturers will agree to sell only to authorized dealers and distributors who agree to a code of conduct. The code of conduct imposes new requirements on authorized dealers and distributors.

  • Cutting off dealers with disproportionate crime guns. Under the agreement, manufacturers will take action against dealers or distributors who sell disproportionate numbers of guns that turn up in crimes within three years of sale, including termination or suspension against the dealer or distributor.

  • Gun shows. Authorized dealers cannot sell at gun shows unless every seller at the gun show conducts background checks.

  • Ballistics testing. To help law enforcement trace guns used in crime when only the bullet or casing is recovered, ballistics fingerprints will be provided for all new firearms to ATF/FBI National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network within 6 months if technologically feasible.

  • Safety training for purchasers. No sales will be made to dealers who do not require gun purchasers to demonstrate that they can safety handle and store firearms.

  • Theft prevention. No sales will be made to dealers who do not implement a security plan to prevent gun theft.

  • Weapons attractive to criminals. Authorized dealers and distributors will not sell large capacity ammunition magazines or semiautomatic assault weapons.

  • Restrictions on multiple handgun sales. To deter illegal gun trafficking, dealers must agree to new limits on multiple handgun sales. All purchasers of multiple handguns can only take one handgun from the day of sale, the remainder 14 days later.

Enforcement of agreement. An Oversight Commission will be established to oversee the implementation of the agreement. The Commission will have five members selected as follows: one by manufacturers; two by city and county parties; one by state parties; one by ATF. ATF will work with manufacturers and the Oversight Commission to assist them in meeting obligations under the agreement.

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