For Release: Thursday, October 9, 1997
Today’s announcement by President Clinton and a number of U.S. gun manufacturers that some gun companies will voluntarily supply trigger locks with new handguns will offer far greater benefits to the gun industry than to America’s children, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) cautioned today.
VPC Director of Federal Policy Kristen Rand warns, “By endorsing this voluntary effort by the industry to supply trigger locking devices of their own choosing with their weapons, President Clinton has guaranteed that no mandatory federal standards will be developed to ensure that devices labeled ‘trigger locks’ will, in fact, help protect children from unintentional gunshot injuries.”
The Violence Policy Center has collected a variety of trigger locks currently available that can easily be broken, twisted, or cut off. One trigger lock, the Shot Lock 1000 , is made of easily fractured plastic held together with a metal screw. It is not necessary to use the lock’s “key” a round disc with two prongs to open it. It can be opened with such common household items as a fork, hole punch, or a pair of scissors. Or it can merely be broken off with a hammer or by stepping on it.
In Connecticut, the only state which requires that new handguns be sold with trigger locks, locks similar to the Shot Lock are made available by dealers, who refer to them as “dealer locks” or “legality locks.”
The VPC also called into question the motives of some of the industry members participating in the agreement. For example, for more than 20 years Sturm, Ruger & Co. has refused to recall its Old Model Single Action revolver, a defectively designed handgun that has killed or injured more than 600 men, women, and children.
Concludes Rand, “Like the tobacco agreement which at first blush appeared to be a step forward and a victory for public health, the devil is in the details. The firearms industry remains the last unregulated manufacturer of a consumer product and this agreement will do nothing to change that dangerous fact. The big winners today are America’s gun manufacturers – not America’s children.”