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The National Shooting Sports Foundation 11 Mile Hill Road Newtown, CT 06470-2359
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Tel: (203) 426-1320 Fax: (203) 426-1087
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SPECIAL TO: ALL MEDIA
For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Contact: Bob Delfay or Doug Painter
(703) 299-9470 or (203) 426-1320


Industry Group and Seven Police Firearms Manufacturers Sue Government Officials--Conspiracy Alleged


dot_clear.gif - 0.8 K WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation and seven police firearms companies today filed suit in federal court against Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and mayors and other officials of 14 municipalities, charging them with an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade and in violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

"The lawsuit arises from a politically-motivated scheme in which these bureaucrats have sought to bully law enforcement professionals into buying handguns based not on the quality or safety of the product, but on capitulation by the manufacturer to a regulatory agenda concocted by these officials," Robert Delfay, President of the NSSF, stated. "We are here to expose a plan that brazenly places political self-interest above police and citizen safety."

"These local officials have tried everything from litigation to economic extortion to compel compliance on a national level with their own individual ideas about gun design, ownership and distribution," Delfay said. "That is wrong by any measure of law, ethics or fairness. Our democratic process is being perverted, the power vested in our elected leaders is being ignored and the Constitution is being trampled upon by HUD Secretary Cuomo and other defendants who have formed an improper alliance with a band of lawyers to sue us into submission."

The suit by NSSF and the firearms manufacturers asks a federal court in Atlanta, site of many of the actions undertaken in furtherance of the conspiracy, to:

Acknowledge that Secretary Cuomo's efforts and that of other defendants to impose rules and regulations regarding the design and distribution of firearms exceed the limits of authority granted to their offices by Congress and by the U.S. Constitution;

Prevent Cuomo and other defendants from further steps that violate the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986;

Find that the preferential purchase scheme imposed by the defendants violates the Commerce Clause of Article I of the U.S. Constitution; and

Prevent state and local officials from taking actions that restrict interstate trade or foreign commerce.

"An anti-gun agenda does not excuse anti-democratic behavior," Delfay stated. "The people of the United States have placed the authority to regulate firearm design and distribution in the hands of Congress, not in the hands of a small contingent of self-chosen politicians and their attorneys."

Delfay also distributed letters from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA) rejecting the Administration's plan. "The top concern of any law enforcement agency handling purchasing firearms is officer safety, not adherence to a particular political philosophy," stated the FOP. "Law enforcement officers should not be used as political pawns," wrote LEAA.

"This is not about locks on guns or even gun safety. This is about Eliot Spitzer telling a homeowner in Iowa what gun he or she can buy, from whom and how," Delfay said.

NSSF is the voice of the firearms industry with over 1,800 members who are involved in all aspects of the shooting sports. The firearms companies involved in the suits are Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Browning Arms, Inc., Colt's Manufacturing, Inc., Glock, Inc., SIG Arms, Inc., Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc., and Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc.

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