- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2000

The free market has rendered a harsh judgment of Smith & Wesson's appeasement of the gun-grabbing Clinton administration. It is very rapidly putting the company out of business. People are refusing to buy handguns produced by what was once a proud American firearms manufacturer but which is now the politically correct satrapy of a British company, Tomkins PLC, that very clearly finds the idea of its association with tools designed for individual self-defense just a tad too outre.

Smith & Wesson's British masters had agreed to a deal with the Clinton Treasury Department and HUD to install gun locks on all handguns sold to the public in return for immunity from the threatened avalanche of lawsuits the Clinton administration has been using as a swagger stick to push its gun-control agenda. But today Smith & Wesson remains a defendant in all but one of the pending/threatened lawsuits and the Clinton administration has so far failed to fulfill its pledge to buy large numbers of handguns from Smith & Wesson for government/law-enforcement purposes.

And while Smith & Wesson waits for the promised payoff from Uncle Sam, its civilian market share is sinking faster than the Titanic. No one is buying Smith & Wesson firearms anymore. People resent the company's cave-in to federal bully boys and have elected to exercise their right to purchase firearms made by other, less obsequious companies such as Sturm, Ruger & Co. As a result, Smith & Wesson has had to extend its traditional one-week summer "furlough" for employees to almost a month as a result of the drop in business.

But the company's problems don't end there. On April 19, other gun manufacturers sued HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo who suggested the preferential treatment for Smith & Wesson in return for its "cooperation" for restraint of free trade and violation of the Constitution's Commerce Clause. And on July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved to bar the Clinton administration from giving Smith & Wesson preferential treatment as its reward for the so-called "gun safety" deal.

Smith & Wesson has gotten what often comes to those who knuckle under to swaggering bullies. "Smith and Wesson is a long way from being satisfied," one disgruntled company official told the Wall Street Journal. "So we've been a leader. Well, what has it got us?"

How about payback?

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