For Release: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Guns Are the Only Consumer Products Not Regulated by the Federal Government for Health and Safety
Washington, DC — The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today launched the Campaign for Gun Industry Accountability, a new ongoing public education campaign detailing the gun industry’s lack of federal health and safety regulation, how the industry has exploited this unique exemption, and the impact this has on gun death and injury. The Campaign’s website is www.gunindustryaccountability.org.
VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “For more than 40 years the gun industry has escaped the type of health and safety regulation that applies to every other product sold in our nation and that most Americans take for granted. While gunmakers like to portray themselves as somehow different from other manufacturers, the only difference is that they aren’t held to the same consumer product safety standards as other industries. It is long past time for the gun industry to be held accountable for their lethal actions that claim tens of thousands of Americans lives every year.”
Guns are the only consumer product manufactured in the United States that are not subject to federal health and safety regulation. All other products that Americans use or come into contact with are regulated by a federal health and safety agency. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates household and recreational products such as toasters, lawn mowers, and toys (including toy guns). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety of food and prescription drugs and regulates tobacco. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates motor vehicles. The firearm industry’s unique exemption has allowed gunmakers to innovate for lethality rather than safety. (And in the case of defective firearms, unlike other products no federal mechanism exists to force a recall or design change.)
As a result, today’s gun industry thrives on developing, manufacturing, and marketing highly militarized firearms with these weapons’ military pedigree and battlefield applications frequently highlighted in their marketing to the civilian population. In addition, many firearms are designed and sold without basic safety devices that could prevent unintentional discharge and some types of misuse. At the same time, in the face of long-term declining household gun ownership, the firearms industry, in partnership with the National Rifle Association, is following a marketing trail blazed by the tobacco industry: targeting children, women, and minority groups as new customers and hoped-for political foot soldiers.
The Campaign for Gun Industry Accountability will:
■ Present new and ongoing research on the many ways the industry exploits its unique lack of health and safety regulation;
■ Outline effective solutions to hold firearms to the same health and safety standards as all other consumer products; and,
■ Offer tools for action that can be used by advocates, policymakers, organizations, and social influencers to hold the industry accountable and effect change.
Please visit www.gunindustryaccountability.org for more information.