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Firearms exempted from Consumer Product Safety Commission. Why?
June 10, 2002 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Firearms exempted from Consumer Product Safety Commission. Why? Erik Zenger lost consciousness for only a few minutes when his black powder gun misfired on a Utah County shooting range, burying a 3-inch steel spring bolt in his cheekbone. . . There is no national agency or organization either man could have consulted to find out if a rifle or handgun had been recalled. Firearms are specifically exempted from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said agency spokesman Ken Jiles, and no other federal agency is empowered to gather information on safety hazards of weapons. Neither the National Rifle Association nor the National Sports Shooting Foundation tracks such information or has lists of gun recalls. Consumers must rely on retail stores and manufacturers to determine if weapons have malfunctioned or injured anyone.
posted by onegoodmove (43 comments total)

 
This is a textbook case of well intentioned regulation interfering with a free market and making things worse.

literally, it was in my macro-economics text book as an example.

I don't know how I feel about it, you could probably tinker with the system. For example, you could make a law dictating that any 'enhancement' of services can be added and removed without changing the rent. That would take care of the deck and doorman problems.

Personaly, I think a little socialism can be a good thing, but obviously it takes a lot more work and is much more inneficient.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 PM on June 10, 2002


CPSC has the ability to recall products. As does the FDA. Firearms fall under the department of ATF. When the Gun Control Act of 1968 was created, there was no mechanism to keep improperly manufactured weapons from citizens. Why? Here's where I'm speculating, and correct me if I'm wrong, but our current gun control policy is so weak and unrestricted that the ability to recall guns would infer the ability to restrict them from the citizenry, which no government, state or local, has been able to do to date. So, until gun control laws stipulate that the government has the ability to keep weapons from its citizenry, a mandated consumer safety recall will be impossible.

Now, this probably leaves the possibility for voluntary recalls, which are now possible, but are very sporadic and localized. I have to ask, onegoodmove, did you already know this and wanted to spark a gun control debate, or was your question in good faith?

on preview, delmoi, wrong thread...
posted by BlueTrain at 10:56 PM on June 10, 2002


That sounds like a good case for a niche market related to cataloguing and tracking the reliability, safety, and recall record of various gun manufacturers and their products.

This doesn't seem like too much of an issue though. Gun manufacturers provide safety instructions, and the NRA offers safety classes across the country. The NRA could easily provide this sort of service as well.

Or, individual gun owners could keep track of any announcements by their various manufacturers, local gun dealers could help people stay abreast of announcements as well. This doesn't seem like too widespread a problem, and it certainly does not call for the involvement of a federal agency.

Keep in mind this article is about black powder rifles, which are more dangerous to their user than modern weapons, and the use of black powder guns is a sub-hobby within the gun-enthusiast community. This whole issue is a red herring, unless you can come up with consistent evidence of massive recalls for modern handguns or rifles.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:11 PM on June 10, 2002


er, crap!
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on June 10, 2002


> Firearms exempted from Consumer Product
> Safety Commission. Why?

Guns make no sense in terms of safety. When they work as intended, they are much more dangerous to the owner and family and neighbors than other products routinely recalled. If washing machines could easily explode and send deadly shrapnel through the wall into the neighbor's apartment, they would not be sold or owned. If blenders had such a nasty record of killing children around the house, they would be eliminated from the market. If any sort of over-the-counter medicine were more often used in murder and suicide than in treating illness, it would be put under very tight control.
posted by pracowity at 11:17 PM on June 10, 2002


The question was in good faith and to be totally honest I thought it might also spark a gun control debate or a little NRA bashing. The way you framed the question however creates a false dilemma. furthermore I don't believe either side of the "right to bear arms" debate believes the government lacks the ability to regulate things such as gun safety.
posted by onegoodmove at 11:17 PM on June 10, 2002


pracowity:

So are you saying that people who buy guns shouldn't expect them to be safe if used properly?
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on June 10, 2002


People who buy guns get what can be expected. If it were just their own deaths, I would say they get what they deserve, but they also get, for example, their own kids accidentally blowing their faces off.
posted by pracowity at 3:18 AM on June 11, 2002


Live by the gun. Die by the gun.
posted by cx at 3:33 AM on June 11, 2002


People who buy guns get what can be expected. If it were just their own deaths, I would say they get what they deserve...

Not to put too blunt a point on this, but fuck you. I own a number of guns (pistols, shotguns, and rifles) and I've never done anything - nor would I ever do anything - with them that could even remotely qualify me for deserving death. I don't even use them for home defense. They are safely locked away in my reinforced steel safe for use in target shooting and competitions. They also serve to give me the false impression that the entire bill of rights applies to everyone.
posted by fnord_prefect at 3:40 AM on June 11, 2002


The 2nd amendment is a relic to revolutionary days, and basically applied to bearing a musket. Could the founding fathers have foreseen the revolution in weaponry which has created individuals armed with more power than some small nations?

Then you have the issue of malitia, which we have in the National Guard.

And if you are just using something for target practice, or for competition, then why would you need something deadly. Couldn't you use something similar, but without the deadly factor.

But really, guns are made for one purpose, in the end, as they always have been. To make things die. Be they animal or person, that is what a gun's primary purpose is. That's the way they are built. If they were built for targeting, they'd have nice, safer pellets that deadly bullets. So if someone dies while using a gun, perhaps from misapplication of the firearm, or perhaps from design flaw, then two things should happen. In the first case, realize these things are dangerous. In the second case, demand government oversight. To this date, in most cases, neither of these ever happens.
posted by benjh at 4:00 AM on June 11, 2002


People who buy guns get what can be expected.

fnord: You "expect" something as a law abiding safety-first gun owner, therefore your guns are:

safely locked away in my reinforced steel safe

If that you kept your gun not in a secure location and properly maintained and all who that could possibly effect were yourself, but you still managed to blow your face off (faulty or ship shape equipment), that'd be yo ass.

but they also get, for example, their own kids accidentally blowing their faces off.

ie: pracowity seems to be only expressing that accidents do happen with objects as patently dangerous and explosive as a firearm. Therefore conventional gun-wisdom shouldn't be so breezy about gun safety. Guns for instance, are not safe by their very definition. Which isn't the same thing as saying they won't save your life should need arise.
posted by crasspastor at 4:12 AM on June 11, 2002


Could the founding fathers have foreseen the revolution in weaponry which has created individuals armed with more power than some small nations?

Could the founding fathers have forseen the revolution of Scientology, which has created a church that has ruined more lives than some small nations? No, but that doesn't make the 1st amendment any less valid.

Also, the 2nd amendment isn't necessarily there to protect you from external threats, and the NG isn't there to protect you from the government. I'm not some raving lunatic who thinks the government is out to get me, but I still believe in the concept of raising a militia if the government oversteps its bounds. The rest of the Bill of Rights is there to protect you, and the 2nd amendment is there to protect the Bill.
posted by fnord_prefect at 4:26 AM on June 11, 2002


crassposter: I'm not taking issue with the idea that guns should be safe (I almost lost a finger when a badly-chambered round blew the magazine out of my Glock 23), but with pracowity's assertion that people who buy guns deserve to die.
posted by fnord_prefect at 4:28 AM on June 11, 2002


along the line of what ford_pnefect said...in the time of the founding fathers, the ratio of goverment firepower to firepower of the populace wasn't nearly what it is now. The idea of the kind of militia mentioned in the constitution is to keep the citizens armed so that if necessary, they can kill the people running the country in order to keep the country in the hands of the populace. Indeed, this was written with muskets in mind; no doubt if the founding fathers could have foreseen just how much firepower our armed forces and police can get on goverment issue, they would have placed even more emphasis on the right of the citizen to bear arms.
posted by bingo at 4:43 AM on June 11, 2002


onegoodmove: The government clearly does lack the ability to recall firearms, both legally and realistically. While I think that this unusual, the historical precedents show that it is unlikely to change. Most firearms manufacturing firms will advertise if there is a problem with their products (exp.: Ruger's improved safety on some of their revolvers, installed for free...) If you are interesting in buying a firearm, you owe it to yourself become knowledgeable. I still hope the weapons manufacturer's in this case get their asses sued off, tho.
posted by mcchesnj at 5:28 AM on June 11, 2002


> Also, the 2nd amendment isn't necessarily there to
> protect you from external threats...

Ah. It's the cop-killer argument: you want guns in case you ever decide you want to shoot US law enforcement officers, those people Americans were so recently heroizing.

People who talk as if being at all construable from language in the US constitution makes something unquestionably right always start by citing one of the long series of amendments made to it over the years. It has been corrected a dozen times in the last hundred years alone. It will be amended again and again. It was made to be amended. When there's an amendment to correct for the widespread private ownership of weapons of mass destruction, you will probably be able to arrange to have someone bury you with a copy of that amendment in your cold, dead hand.

> if the founding fathers could have foreseen just how
> much firepower our armed forces and police can get
> on goverment issue...

You should abandon this argument. If the pistol packin' "American people" ever try to fight the US military (army, navy, air force, etc.), the US military will roast them alive, scatter their dust, and erase their family names from history. That is, unless the US military is on the people's side, in which case the people and their pistol collections won't make a damned bit of difference.
posted by pracowity at 5:46 AM on June 11, 2002


...you want guns in case you ever decide you want to shoot US law enforcement officers, those people Americans were so recently heroizing.

You make it sound like I'm restricting this to law enforcement officers, when I was insinuating that the entire government would be held accountable. Also, I'm fairly certain that the men and women we hold up as heroes aren't the type who would willingly fight on the side of an unjust government.

If the pistol packin' "American people" ever try to fight the US military (army, navy, air force, etc.), the US military will roast them alive, scatter their dust, and erase their family names from history.

Just like they did to the Vietnamese? And, mind you, the Vietnamese weren't the fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters of the men sent there to fight them. It's hard to keep up morale when a soldier's family could be the next target.
posted by fnord_prefect at 6:11 AM on June 11, 2002


> ... the entire government would be held accountable.
> ... the side of an unjust government.

As decided by you and your beer buddies and your guns, screw democracy and that constitution you keep talking about. What if most people think the government is just, but you and your militia don't. Kill them?

Maybe you are one of those loons you claimed not to be.
posted by pracowity at 6:39 AM on June 11, 2002


My standards for determining when the government has failed run along the lines of: president dissolves congress, dissenters are imprisoned or killed, and the constitution is re-written by the hands of a few men.

Oh, but me and my "beer buddies" still wouldn't be justified then, would we? We should just go off to the reeducation camps.
posted by fnord_prefect at 6:52 AM on June 11, 2002


"You should abandon this argument. If the pistol packin' "American people" ever try to fight the US military (army, navy, air force, etc.), the US military will roast them alive, scatter their dust, and erase their family names from history"

you need to study some history. get a clue.

want to shoot US law enforcement officers, those people Americans were so recently heroizing.

hahahahah. yepper kiddo, any law enforcement wants to take away my right to bear arms WILL recieve a bullet. has nothing to do with heroic actions. has everything to do with cops becoming faschists and suppressing rights of the people. Now if they were breaking the law, they wouldnt be very heroic would they. your matchbox arguments just show your power of one sided arguments. little. If the military were fighting the people, It would be all over anyway, this country would be invaded. so your argument is moot. and praco, i do not like your tone about dust and erasing. you have made me angry.

It will be amended again and again. It was made to be amended. really, i had no idea(r) and can i hire you for my next pampered chef party, i need a good medium.
posted by clavdivs at 6:55 AM on June 11, 2002


Ok, having been accused of a previous history of Constitutional relativism, which is patently not true, I'm going to chime in on the Second Amendment. It's simple and clear. I don't own firearms but definitely have the right to. If you don't like it, it can be fixed. Amend the big document. There are rules as to how, stop alluding to emotional things like accidental child deaths and cop killing and get out push to amend the document. Statute won't cut it since the Framers were very specific.
posted by shagoth at 7:01 AM on June 11, 2002


Pracowity: you lose, go home before you piss off any one else that believes in the right to self-defense.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:11 AM on June 11, 2002


what insomnyuk said. and don't call me a loon, you little shit.
posted by fnord_prefect at 7:19 AM on June 11, 2002


I think Prac has derailed the thread with a comment I hope he didn't mean. That being said, back to the original topic of should there be a national registry of some denomination that lets gun owners know of recalls or safety issues? Yes, I think there should.

I too own guns, I've spent a lot of time on my husband's family ranch where there are things like rattlesnakes, and a gun is the fastest way to keep yourself, your dogs, your horse and your cattle alive. When you're 100+ miles from the nearest hospital, you keep snakebit kits and rifles fairly close to hand. (But, to be fair, I've spent a lot of my life in the country and have been shooting rifles since I was probably 8 years old...my sister and I were sharpshooters before we were 12.)

When we come home from the ranch, we bring our guns with us, rather than leave them out there for someone to find. We keep our guns unloaded and locked up. (One of my guns is a winchester repeating rifle that was made before I was born...I love that gun...it's a bit of art, it is.)

To suggest that gun owners don't need to know if there's a problem with the manufacturing process of a certain weapon is absurd.

And to Prac, I say, To suggest that all gun owners and their children deserve to die is beyond stupid and I suggest that if you feel that way, perhaps you should start growing your own veggies and raising your own livestock...cause there isn't a ranch or farm in this country that doesn't have a gun to manage the vermin. If you feel that we should all be dead, feel free to stop eating what we produce.
posted by dejah420 at 7:35 AM on June 11, 2002


ah, discourse.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:41 AM on June 11, 2002


> My standards for determining when the government has
> failed run along the lines of: president dissolves
> congress, dissenters are imprisoned or killed, and the
> constitution is re-written by the hands of a few men.

And then what? Your pistols save the day? Or do you have a stockpile of illegal armor-piercing weapons? Because the guys you talk about fighting would not be stopped by a little Glock pistol. What do you have out in the shed for stopping tanks and bringing down aircraft?

> To suggest that all gun owners and their children
> deserve to die

I didn't write that. I wrote that their children do not deserve such a fate. But the guy who buys and plays with a machine designed to kill people is buying his own potential death. If you play catch with hand grenades, you don't deserve a lot of weeping when one goes off. If some of your cyanide collection gets in your coffee, it's too bad for you.
posted by pracowity at 8:05 AM on June 11, 2002


The 2nd amendment is a relic to revolutionary days, and basically applied to bearing a musket. Could the founding fathers have foreseen the revolution in weaponry which has created individuals armed with more power than some small nations?

Could they have forseen the Internet? And yet the first amendment applies to electronic communication. Interesting, that.

Then you have the issue of malitia, which we have in the National Guard.

What a brilliant misinterpretation of clear language. "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed" actually means the National Guard gets muskets. You have no idea what you are writing about.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:22 AM on June 11, 2002


hey folks, try taking a couple of minutes to calm down a little before typing a response , 'cause you all sound like loons when you're being childish.
posted by tolkhan at 8:33 AM on June 11, 2002


The problem is not with guns, any more than it is with shovels. The problem is that many people cannot be trusted to use them safely and wisely. The only real solution is to eliminate (or educate, but that's even less likely to happen) the people, but since people are loathe to do this, some grasp at the inferior-but-theoretically-achievable approach of removing the guns. Which is an offensively patronizing approach that treats adult citizens like incompetent children. There is no solution to this. People are drawn to those things which kill them in the greatest numbers, including cars and guns. People will continue to shoot other people until the mean maturity level increases significantly.

I agree that the people should retain the power to remove the government by force if necessary and appropriate, in extremis. And I also agree that it's been a long, long time since we had such power.
posted by rushmc at 8:43 AM on June 11, 2002


But the guy who buys and plays with a machine designed to kill people is buying his own potential death. If you play catch with hand grenades, you don't deserve a lot of weeping when one goes off.

You know, it's crap like this that just makes people who are usually lefties (like me) shit peach pits. Why must you lard your rhetoric with implications that all gun owners are "playing" with their weapons? The suggestion, of course, is that gun owners are all idiot children who like shiny things. It's fucking stupid, just as stupid as suggesting that gun owners are "buying [their] own potential death." You could say the same thing about car owners or bleach owners or knife owners.
posted by Skot at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2002


> Why must you lard your rhetoric with implications that
> all gun owners are "playing" with their weapons?

Well, for an example from this thread:

> I own a number of guns (pistols, shotguns, and rifles)
> ... I don't even use them for home defense. They are
> ... for use in target shooting and competitions.

Now, of course not every gun owner has them only for games. Many do, but not all, not strictly for fun. Many own them instead to kill people. Not that they might not also enjoy messing around with their guns, but the goal is to own a way to kill people fast.

> suggesting that gun owners are "buying [their] own
> potential death."

I buy bleach for clothes and knifes to spread butter. It would take some effort and intention to get them to kill a person. I don't buy cars at all, but if I did, it would be to get somewhere. And if I needed one of these things and could get a safe version of it, I would.

But a Glock 23, for example, is made to kill people. It isn't for target practice or, or that matter, spreading butter or whitening clothes. If it wasn't good for killing people with almost no effort, no one would buy it.
posted by pracowity at 9:20 AM on June 11, 2002


Many own them instead to kill people. Not that they might not also enjoy messing around with their guns, but the goal is to own a way to kill people fast.

Who cares? So what? What is your point? What is your premise?

Yes, that is why some people buy guns. It's an efficient tool.

Are you offended that people might buy a weapon whose primary purpose is killing? What if I bought a razorsharp katana for self-defense? Is that any different, do you regard swords more highly than guns?

Everyone already knows guns are good for killing. I'm considering buying one, even though I have no intention of killing anyone, unless I need to use deadly force to defend myself. And that includes defending myself from the government, if it becomes tyrannical. Clearly, you have a problem with that. Rather than attack people based on what you think might happen as a result of them defending themselves, why don't you come right out and say you're against self-defense, or say why you think people shouldn't be allowed to defend themselves from tyranny.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:27 AM on June 11, 2002


It would take some effort and intention to get them to kill a person.

Much like, say, a gun. It sounds like you've never shot one. I have, many times, and weirdly, nobody died. I guess I was using it wrong.
posted by Skot at 9:47 AM on June 11, 2002


I'd like to chime in with a moderate (compared to this thread's other comments) position: How about we eliminate small guns and not worry too much about big guns like rifles. Crime and accidental shootings correlate strongly with handgun use while farm defense, subsistence hunting and sport shooting correlate strongly with rifle use. Do I have any supporters for this compromise?
posted by plaino at 10:02 AM on June 11, 2002


defending myself from the government, if it becomes tyrannical

i'm thinking you wouldn't be successful, in such a case, unless the Government Agents come at you one at a time and without thinking to use their weapons, like the bad guys do in fight films.

let's get rid of all the manufactured weapons worldwide and all take up martial arts to defend ourselves. from what i've seen in the cinema, martial arts are the only plausible way for a single person to foil an attack by a group of a couple hundred enemies.
posted by tolkhan at 10:14 AM on June 11, 2002


How about we eliminate small guns and not worry too much about big guns like rifles.

Even assuming this is a good idea (which I don't think it is, but for the purposes of discussion), how exactly would you go about "eliminating" all small guns?
posted by ljromanoff at 10:14 AM on June 11, 2002


say why you think people shouldn't be allowed to defend themselves from tyranny.
Well, I'm guessing the point is that tyranny is obviously already among us and since it's laughable to pretend we can actually do anything to defend ourselves from it, it's time to lay down our arms and be good cogs. Because, after all, resistance movements and guerilla warfare never accomplished anything worth noting against a superior force.
Or, in other words, 'SURRENDER DOROTHY'.
posted by darukaru at 11:01 AM on June 11, 2002


I'm curious, now that this entire thread has devolved into the routine gun control debate, do pracowity's comments remind anyone of the religious right's moral obligations? It is assumed that the religious right have a certain standard of morals and do whatever they can not only to live these morals, but force others to live them as well. Along the same lines, pracowity is essentially trying to save the citizenry from themselves by having such an anti-gun position. I could be wrong. But I'm amused, anyway.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2002


...but the goal is to own a way to kill people fast.

Sometimes people need to be killed fast.
posted by rushmc at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2002


Angry people with guns in here!
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2002


hackly_fracture: Damn right. When people say that I deserve to die for my hobby and advocate the loss of my rights, I tend to get a little pissed.
posted by fnord_prefect at 5:03 PM on June 11, 2002


So are you saying that people who buy guns shouldn't expect them to be safe if used properly?


guns are only deadly if used for thier intended purpose
posted by Aleph Yin at 6:55 PM on June 11, 2002


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