(Tuesday, March 21, 2000) -- Last week's "agreement" between Smith & Wesson and the Clinton Administration will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most regretful episodes in the modern Right to Keep and Bear Arms movement. The firearms manufacturer's lamentable decision to "settle" with the most anti-gun Administration in history cannot go without a pointed response by all those who seriously cherish and believe in the God-given right of individual self defense.
The so-called settlement between Smith & Wesson and the Departments of Treasury, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and local and state governments is more a nationalization of the British-owned firm which now, for the sake of accuracy, should be renamed the "The Clinton & Wesson Corporation." (More on this in just a moment.)
The Clinton Administration has achieved nearly every outrageous demand in its original lawsuit without having to prove its case in a court of law. This sellout agreement creates an "Oversight Commission" that will include four government officials (one from the BATF) and a Smith & Wesson executive.
The Clinton & Wesson commission will have the power of law to enforce gun control upon any gun dealer that sells S&W products and upon any gun owner that buys from such a dealer!!! This is European fascism at its best, and is much more draconian than what has been reported in the media. Consider just some of the highlights:
* Gun rationing: Any gun dealer that carries S&W products can NOT sell you two handguns on the same day... or during the same week!!! (No more than one handgun during a 14-day period.)
So let's get this straight: a total gun ban in England has neither stopped 3 million illegal guns from getting into criminal hands nor stopped their crime rate from exceeding ours. But somehow gun rationing here is going to keep criminals from getting guns.
* Mandatory gun owner registration: A S&W dealer will not be able to sell any of his guns at a gun show unless ALL of the sales at the show -- including private sales -- are run through a registration background check. Why does the Clinton administration want to know who every gun buyer is?
* Mandatory training requirements: You will not be able to buy a gun from a S&W dealer unless you have put your rights on hold for however long it takes to complete a certified training course. Hopefully, someone you know will never try to buy their first gun to protect themselves from a stalker or abusive spouse. Because now, dealers carrying S&W products cannot sell that person a self-defense gun until that person jumps through the Clinton & Wesson hoops.
* Mandatory employee training. This would require all employees of dealers and distributors to attend mandatory ATF approved training. Thus, dealers who have had a business for 20 years will now need to send their employees to the federal government for indoctrination.
* Dealer entrapment. The agreement requires persons under 18 to be accompanied by adults either in gun stores covered by this agreement or in the gun sections of those stores. So the next time Wal-Mart lets those pesky 17-year-olds walk near the gun section of its store, look out! An ATF agent may jump out from behind the camo rack and bust the employees for not carding the juveniles and keeping them out.
* BATF harassment provision. This agreement gives the new Oversight Commission (including its BATF representative) unfettered access into gun dealers' stores -- more so than is currently allowed by federal law. Any time it wants, the BATF can reach its dirty hand into the dealer's records and gain "access to documents necessary to determine compliance."
According to the official summary found on HUD's website, this agreement is "enforceable as a court order and as a contract." You may have heard on the news about some of the "anti-safety" devices that S&W has agreed to include on their weapons -- trigger locks, smart gun technology, etc. These are anti-safety devices that will cost innocent lives if they are imposed upon the public. After all, if they truly were safety devices, then why does the Clinton and Wesson agreement exempt law enforcement and the military from having these items on their guns?
For these reasons and more, Gun Owners of America is urging its near quarter of a million members and all those committed to a NO COMPROMISE position in regard to the Second Amendment to disassociate themselves from the firearms manufacturer and BOYCOTT all Smith & Wesson products.
This is a serious and dramatic step and one which we had never envisioned taking. We are aware of the "extortionary" pressure that Smith & Wesson was under from the maniacal Clinton-Gore Administration and the costly legal struggle that it faced. However, to defeat such a vicious and cunning opponent requires courage and perseverance, not capitulation.
In taking this step, we are adopting our forefathers' example, who also boycotted those merchants who willfully collaborated with British authorities against the interests of their fellow Americans. In fact, Smith & Wesson's decision is not that altogether surprising coming from a foreign country that has been so hostile to the private ownership of firearms.
In sum, Smith & Wesson has done serious and irrevocable damage to the entire 2nd Amendment movement. Such action is no longer worthy of gun owners' support or patronage. We hope our loyal and patriotic membership concurs. Just as important, it is hoped that this action will dissuade other firearms manufacturers and related industries from abandoning the struggle against the assaults by the Clinton Administration on our unalienable rights.
* GOA urges all of those who are deeply troubled with Smith & Wesson's decision to voice their protests and concerns directly to them. Their customer service department can be reached at 1-800-331-0852; and their public relations department can be reached by phone at (413) 781-8300 ext. 299 or by e-mail (
* GOA also urges people to ask their gun dealerships they frequent to STOP carrying Smith & Wesson products. Gun owners can read an official "Summary of Terms" at http://www.hud.gov/pressrel/gunagree.html on the HUD website.