February 15, 1996 in Nation/World

Gun Foes Take Aim At ‘Big Lie’ Of Safety

Associated Press
 

Advertisements implying that having a loaded gun at the ready will enhance a family’s safety are a “big lie” that should be barred by the federal government, gun-control advocates asserted Wednesday.

“The gun industry knows no shame,” said Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., one of Congress’ most adamant proponents of gun control. “They’ll go to any lengths to sell their wares, to put more guns on our streets.”

The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics called the news conference to announce they are petitioning the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit such firearms ads as unfair and deceptive. Schumer wrote the FTC a letter supporting the petition.

Tanya Metaksa, the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist, condemned the petition as “an attack on the First Amendment as well as the Second Amendment.” A gun industry representative, Jack Adkins of the American Shooting Sports Council, said the allegations were based on “voodoo statistics” that misrepresent the role of the firearm in the home.

An ad the gun-control advocates singled out for criticism depicts a woman tucking her young daughter into bed at night. The headline says, “Self-protection is more than your right. … It’s your responsibility.” The text compares having a gun in the home with having a fire extinguisher.

Although many ads cited appeared primarily in gun magazines, this one was in Ladies Home Journal.

The petition cites research published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found “that keeping a gun in the house increased by 2.7 times the risk that a resident would die in a homicide and by 4.8 times the risk to commit suicide.”

In her response, the NRA’s Metaksa cited the work of criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University who has estimated that Americans protect themselves with firearms up to 2.5 million times a year. He contends that the presence of a gun and the threat of using it usually deter crime.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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