Naturally, I'm very disappointed to hear the exact details of Smith &
Wesson's deal with Clinton and his anti-gun buddies. I was surprised to
learn that what I saw as an all-American business is actually owned and
run by a British corporation. This, many say, is why Smith & Wesson
conceded to the terms in order to avoid the majority of legal tangles
facing it and other gun manufacturers.
Most of the terms I read and shrugged. They do not represent a real
burden to shooters, dealers, or buyers: including a second "hidden"
serial number, including an external trigger lock with each gun,
integrating an internal lock into every gun, devoting money to
researching "smart" guns, loaded chamber indicator, storage warnings.
But the troubling details are the ones that the media isn't talking
about: a vague rule about making the gun so that it "cannot be readily
operated by a child under the age of 6", a minimum barrel length of 3"
unless it has proven poor accuracy, minimum overall sizes for pistols,
restriction on any gun "that can be readily converted to an illegal
firearm" (like, say, chopping down the barrel on a shotgun or rifle),
and requiring all S&W dealers and distributors to follow a certain set
This last condition is arguably the worst when you actually read the
terms that dealers have to abide by. They are not allowed to sell any
perfectly legal large capacity magazines or semiautomatic
firearms that are grandfathered by the "Crime" bill, no matter who made
it. They cannot, in fact, sell any firearm that does not conform to the
"design criteria" laid out in the agreement (including, I assume,
minimum barrel size, minimum overall size, hidden serial number). The
dealers cannot sell a gun without receiving notice from the National
Instant Check System, even if the mandated maximum time limit for the
check has passed (meaning that to eliminate gun purchases completely,
all the FBI has to do is be slow in responding). They can't sell any
firearm unless the purchaser has passed a safety training course, no
matter what the local or state laws say or whether or not such a course
is even available in the area. In addition, there are a whole bunch of
conditions that already reflect federal law for licensed dealers, so
their inclusion seems rather strange.
Anyone who didn't foresee that dealers would no longer want to deal with
Smith & Wesson is an idiot. And why should they? Basically, this
agreement says that they can sell S&W guns and no other. Not
surprisingly, dealers and buyers are starting to boycott this great
company that has been making firearms in America for almost 150 years.
I think it's a terrible shame, but no doubt it's what gun-control
advocates were hoping for when they proposed it. With this agreement, I
think Smith & Wesson has basically put itself out of the firearms
business and I'm sure the gun grabbers are jumping for joy.