|CPSC Vote on BB Guns a Disappointment
This article appeared in the NCCC newsletter, dated January 2004.
Consumer Federation of America (CFA) called the consent agreement between the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Daisy Manufacturing Company a loss for consumer safety. CPSC voted last Friday to drop its demand that Daisy recall 7.5 million BB guns.
CPSC filed a lawsuit against Daisy, alleging that some high-powered Daisy air guns were defective because BBs could become lodged in the magazine, even though the rifle appeared to be empty. The commission said it knew of at least 15 deaths and 171 serious injuries from the alleged defect, about 80 percent of them involving children under the age of 16.
Instead, with the approval of a majority of CPSC Commissioners, Daisy agreed to include more and bigger safety warnings on its products as well as launch a $1.5 million, five-year educational campaign. This is virtually the same as two offers previously rejected by the Commission.
"The highly irregular process leading to the settlement has created an unacceptably weak resolution in which Daisy has not agreed to do anything more to educate consumers about air gun safety than it was already doing. The significant problem with this settlement is the failure to remove these potentially unsafe products from the marketplace," stated Rachel Weintraub, assistant general counsel at Consumer Federation of America.
In 2001 an estimated 21,187 non-powder gun injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments; 76 percent of patients were children and teenagers. CPSC receives reports of approximately 3 to 4 deaths per year from non-powder guns, however, these deaths may be underestimated since some deaths may be miscoded as firearm deaths or other deaths.
There are no national mandatory standards for the sale, ownership, or use of non-powder guns, as this regulation is left to the states. Some states regard non-powder guns as firearms while others do not, and according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, only 15 states regulate the sale or possession of non-powder guns.
"The benefit of this consent agreement with CPSC is the good PR it will generate for Daisy," stated Sue Peschin, Firearms Project Director for Consumer Federation of America. "The only way the air gun industry will ever change its potentially dangerous manufacturing and marketing practices is if it is forced by federal regulation to do so."