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Air Rifles In Line of Fire From Safety Chief
Outgoing Chairman Seeking a Recall

By Caroline E. Mayer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 20, 2001; Page E01


With less than two weeks left in her tenure as chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Ann Brown is aiming to take a parting shot at an American cultural icon, the Daisy air rifle.

Spurred by concerns that high-powered air rifles made by Daisy Manufacturing Co. are unsafe, Brown is aggressively pushing for a recall that could affect as many as 9 million rifles, industry officials estimated.

The recall would apply only to high-velocity rifles that are far more powerful than Daisy's Red Ryder model that many boys grew up with. However, gun industry officials said they feared any such action could lead to an even wider recall, probably of the 20 million high-velocity guns made by all manufacturers and perhaps of all BB guns, which number more than 100 million.

CPSC officials declined to discuss Brown's effort yesterday. But industry sources said the agency's staff is concerned about the gravity-loading features, the lack of any automatic safety mechanism and the silver color of the BB, similar to the color of the inside of the gun, which might lead users to think the gun isn't loaded when it is.

"The [safety defect] allegations the CPSC is looking at are not unique to the Daisy product or to high-velocity rifles," said Lawrence Keane, vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents manufacturers and ammunition suppliers. "The alleged defect pertains to virtually every single air rifle ever made."

Daisy officials declined to acknowledge whether the CPSC was investigating one of its products. But Aaron Locker, who has represented Daisy in previous suits, said the CPSC has looked at Daisy air rifles before and "determined these guns were safe and met industry standards." Keane made the same argument.

It is unclear whether Brown, a Democrat, has the support of the other two commissioners, Democrat Thomas Moore and Republican Mary Sheila Gall. Neither returned phone calls yesterday.

However, time is running short for Brown. A vote on the recall was scheduled for Thursday but was postponed at the request of another commissioner, industry sources said.

The three are now scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider the matter privately and then vote on it Oct. 30, one day before Brown leaves office.

The CPSC is barred by law from regulating guns, but it has looked at BB guns several times. BB guns are not considered firearms because they use air instead of explosive force to propel projectiles.

Three times the commission has rejected requests to regulate the high-powered air rifles. In 1996, it concluded a two-year investigation of the Daisy 880 model and found it was not defective.

Brown declined to discuss the issue yesterday. The proposed recall was first disclosed in the CPSC Monitor, a monthly publication of Consumer Alert, which calls itself a "market-oriented consumer group."

The recall proposal was prompted by a private lawsuit against Daisy by the family of a Pennsylvania boy who was permanently disabled in May 1999 after his best friend accidentally shot him in the head with a Daisy 856 model -- two days after the injured boy received the gun for his 16th birthday.

The company's marketing material warns that the model is not a toy and should be used only by those age 16 or older.

Daisy settled the suit earlier this year for &#3618 million, according to news reports.

Last year the boy's lawyer, Shanin Specter, urged the CPSC to investigate the gun. "There is a propensity for BBs to become lodged in the magazine without the user knowing it," he said.

That's what happened to Tucker Mahoney and his friend, the lawyer said. They thought the gun was empty, shook it, heard no BBs and eventually fired at each other.

Specter said he is also concerned about the velocity of high-powered air rifles -- about 750 feet per second, compared with the Red Ryder model, which fires a BB at about 300 feet per second. "Over 350, a BB can penetrate the skin; over 650, it can penetrate the skull," he said.

Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.



© 2001 The Washington Post Company
 

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I guess the obvious question, (for this non-lawer, anyway), is 'what the blue blazes was that kid thinking!'
I don't give a rats rusty hind quarters how "empty" the airgun was. The item involved was an air GUN! If I had done a stupid thing like that, I don't think I would have gotten away with a moronic excuse like "I didn't know it was loaded!"
An air gun must be treated in much the same way as a "real" gun, i.e. it is always to be treated as if loaded, it is never to be pointed at anything or anybody you are not willing to destroy, it is always to be treated as if it were loaded, oh by the way, did I remember to mention that it should always be treated as if it were loaded?
In Europe, airguns are about a heavily regulated as firearms. I would hate to see that sort of thinking put to work in this great country!

Shoot well, shoot often, laugh much! :D
 

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Hold your nose , keep your lips tightly together , and blow real hard , you should feel plenty of it shooting out of your ears Splurge, now go outside and run with scissors.


444fitch
 

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Some people say america is a gun culture. I think its obvious that most of the people calling to limit, ban or otherwise control guns have had no exposure or experience with guns of any kind. It's a reactionary move made out of ignorance. Don't curse them, take them shooting. People are scared of what they don't understand.
 

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Mike_AK. That is right. Most anti gun people only know what they read in sensationalized headlines and news stories. In the country people hunt animals. Drug dealers and other undesirable people in the city hunt each other. Some people can't understand the difference between a criminal murder and and a game hunter or target shooter. People are terrified of their kids having a gun but then give them something a lot more dangerous, the car keys!!!
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Dang - a 10 year old thread dug up! :eek:
 

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Ten years? Active? Look again.
The OP was made in 2001. There was no response to it for more than three years. Then some activity in 2004 and limbo again until now.
Maybe the threat to the right to own and use guns - firearms or airguns - was not perceived as critically as it is now....it should have been. Hindsight is 20/20.
Pete
 
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