In California, a spokesman for Wal-
Mart Stores, Inc. said the company
agreed to halt temporarily firearm
sales in the Golden State. This is
the first time the largest retailer in
the country has stopped gun sales
across an entire state. The company
made the decision in response to
a statement from the office of the
anti-gun state Attorney General, Bill
Lockyer, that Wal-Mart stores in the
Central Valley committed nearly 500
violations of the state’s gun laws,
including selling weapons to felons
and releasing firearms to buyers
before the end of the 10-day waiting
period. Wal-Mart spokesman Robert
McAdam said the company is committed
to correcting the problem.
In Maryland, a federal appeals
court vacated a lower court’s ruling
that had declared illegal a 2001
Montgomery County law restricting
gun shows. The law sought to cut
off county funding to any public or
private organization that allowed
gun sales and firearm displays. As
a result, the privately owned Montgomery
County Agricultural Center,
which had received about half a
million dollars in taxpayer money,
temporarily refused permission to
Silverado Productions to host its
semi-annual gun shows at the facility
as it had been doingsince 1990. The
Fourth Circuit Appeals Court sent the
case back to District Court to decide
a question of jurisdiction.
In Washington, D.C., anti-gun
Rep. Robert E. Andrews of New
Jersey introduced H.R. 1171, a
proposed Iris Scan Security Act of
2003. Referred to the House Judiciary
Committee, it would authorize
the Attorney General of the United
States to award grants to law enforcement
agencies to use iris scanning
technology to conduct background
checks on individuals who want to
purchase guns. Point Blank readers
interested in this measure could
contact the Chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, Rep. F. James
Sensenbrenner by writing him at
2128 Rayburn House Office Building,
Washington, D. C. 20515, by phoning
him at (202) 225-3951, or by faxing
him at (202) 225-7682.
In Ohio, when the city of Cincinnati
sued gun manufacturers
and distributors in 1999, hoping to
recover costs supposedly incurred
as a result of violence “related” to
firearms, reports the Cincinnati Post,
“gun companies shuddered.” Now,
however, they are firing back, asking
the city in court documents to substantiate
all of its allegations before
the case goes to trial in September,
a request city attorneys are resisting,
calling it “impossible.” Attorneys for
Beretta USA Corp. and other gun
manufacturers and distributors want
to know exactly how their sales increased
gun-related violence, drove
up crime, forced the city to hire more
police, increased medical bills and
taxes and decreased property values.
In New York, an anti-gun Brooklyn
city councilman led about a dozen
gun control advocates to City Hall
last month to call on Congress to
throw out two bills that would protect
gun makers and sellers from
third-party lawsuits. These are the
bills, discussed elsewhere in this
and previous of Point Blank, which
would prohibit any lawsuit against
a gun manufacturer or seller by a
city, state, private individual or private
group, unless they could show
the manufacturer or seller had prior
knowledge the gun would be used to
commit a crime. Councilman David
Yassky said the proposal would, “put
handcuffs on New York as we try to
defend ourselves against the gun
Anti-gun Rep. James R. Langevin
of Rhode Island, with over 20
co-sponsors, has introduced H.R.
1540, the proposed Crackdown on
Deadbeat Dealers Act of 2003, to
increase the permitted number of
annual compliance inspections by
federal law enforcement inspectors
of licensed firearm dealers; to raise
the maximum criminal penalty for
dealers who knowingly violate the
law by committing serious recordkeeping
offenses that can hinder
tracing guns used in crimes; and to
authorize $320 million in grants for
five years to hire 500 additional ATF
inspectors. Referred to the House
Judiciary Committee.