NCPA's Burnett Available to Discuss Recent Developments in Suits Against Gun Manufacturers

DALLAS (March. 20, 2000) - H. Sterling Burnett, senior policy analyst for the National Center for Policy Analysis, is available to discuss the recent deal between the government and fire-arm manufacturer Smith & Wesson and reports that Glock is also pursuing a deal.

Reacting to the recent news, Burnett said: "The Smith & Wesson deal proves that political extortion is now legal in America.

"It's hard to say that anyone was actually made safer as a result of this deal. Indeed, the public may be at greater risk if manufacturers feel pressured to get so called 'smart-gun' technology to the market before it is proven safe. In addition, the urban poor will be at greater risk since guns have proven to be the best defense against crime but this deal will raise the price of guns meaning the poor less able to afford them.

"Despite the fact that gun makers who knuckle under to this extortion will be doing themselves and the public a disservice, each gun manufacturer, faced with impending bankruptcy, will have the incentive to accept the same deal Smith & Wesson took. As each new manufacturer cuts a deal to get out of the lawsuits, the financial pressure on the remaining manufacturers will increase. This sets a dangerous precedent for the democratic process."

As one of the nation's leading experts on gun litigation issues, Burnett can provide important insight and analysis on the legitimacy of the pending suits and whether the recent deal proves that the government has just been using the litigation as political extortion to get manufacturers to the bargaining table.

WHO: H. Sterling Burnett, NCPA Senior Policy Analyst

WHAT: Litigation Against Gun Manufacturers

WHEN: Available Immediately

Burnett is the author of a study entitled "Suing Gun Manufacturers: Hazardous to Our Health," which notes that citizens use guns in self-defense as many as 2.5 million times annually (in the vast majority of cases, merely showing the firearm prevents the crime). That far exceeds the number of crimes committed with firearms each year, providing cities with a net social benefit from gun use. Accordingly, Burnett calculates that guns save U.S. citizens between $1 billion and $38 billion annually.