Firearms, by design, are dangerous. But that does not mean that we should tolerate gun defects that cause them to fire when they should not. All guns should be designed to help users prevent foreseeable unintentional discharges, just as coffeemakers, toasters, ladders, and baby cribs must meet basic safety requirements.
Not all guns perform as advertised. Tragedies can be prevented at minimal cost by requiring that manufacturers design and build safer guns and that they implement practices, applicable to other consumer products, that alert customers quickly when defects are identified.
Guns are inherently dangerous consumer products and should be subject to the same product safety oversight as other products. Congress should vest comprehensive oversight authority in an agency with expertise in firearms and the firearms industry. A first step would be to give the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explicit authority to recall guns and ammunition that contain dangerous defects in design or manufacture.
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