Smith & Wesson Prez to States: Don't Regulate Gun Control

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Ed Shultz, president of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, a company that recently signed a gun control measure with the Clinton Administration, has warned states not to try regulating weapons through legislation.

While insisting his company will abide by new and tough regulations implemented this week in Massachusetts by Attorney General Thomas Reilly, Shultz said regulation is best left to federal authorities.

"This is something that should be left to the federal government and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or else we as manufacturers will end up trying to deal with different regulations in 50 different states."

Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to attempt to regulate handguns, as it does other consumer products, using consumer protection laws. The regulations recently were upheld by the state's Supreme Court after a lengthy legal battle. Shultz said Smith & Wesson will follow the state's guidelines. However, Reilly said that he will help other attorneys general in drafting similar regulations. Such moves could result in a regulatory nightmare for gun makers, the very thing Shultz said he fears.

The Bay State's regulations include requiring the use of childproof safety locks; tamper proof serial numbers and the equipping of semi-automatic weapons with load indicators or a magazine disconnect. The regulations also prohibit the sale of "junk guns" made from inferior materials and have been known to explode or accidentally discharge. The regulations also require gun makers to adhere to new safety standards while allowing the attorney general's office to conduct tests to assure compliance.

The state regulations are more restrictive that those contained in the Smith & Wesson-Clinton Administration agreement. Company officials contend the decision to sign the pact was a business decision that allowed the company to be released from a host of law suits brought by cities, towns and states who were hopeful of recovering medical costs associated with gun shot wound and deaths.

According to Shultz, the agreement has impacted Smith & Wesson's overall sales. However, Schultz released no firm figures showing such an impact.