Arrow-right Camera


Deal Offers Ammunition For State Initiative Debate

A deal between President Clinton and the nation’s gun makers to put safety devices on new handguns should help a Washington state initiative, the proposed law’s supporters said Thursday.

“I think it mirrors our arguments,” said Karen Besserman, a spokeswoman for SafetyFirst.

No, it should help defeat the proposal, opponents said.

“It gives people a reason to vote against (the proposal) if guns will be sold that way anyway,” Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation said.

The agreement means up to 80 percent of handguns made in this country will be sold with some type of child safety device. But older guns and private sales wouldn’t be affected by the agreement.

“We want to make sure (safety devices) cover 100 percent” of handgun sales, Besserman said.

Initiative 676 calls for gun locks and would require that anyone who owns or uses a handgun have a license. To have a license, one must obtain a certificate by attending a safety class or show he or she knows how to safely use a weapon.

Besserman argued that requiring new guns come with safety devices won’t undercut the initiative because the proposed law is about more than trigger locks.

That’s exactly the problem with the proposal, Gottlieb countered. It includes many additional requirements, although much of the discussion so far has centered on trigger locks, he said.

But the decision by gun manufacturers “makes it harder for the supporters to hide behind trigger locks” as the main reason to pass the initiative, he said.

, DataTimes MEMO: See related story under the headline: Gun makers surrender on safety locks

See related story under the headline: Gun makers surrender on safety locks