Regulating Firearms as a Consumer Product

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Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1481-1482
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1481

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Motor vehicles are the leading cause of injury death in the United States; firearms are the second. Unlike motor vehicles, firearms are not subject to governmental consumer product standards. A survey of 1204 U.S. adults found substantial support (74.9%) for government safety standards for firearms. Child-proofing and personalizing handguns and congressional hearings into the firearms industry also were popular. A slight majority favored banning inexpensive, easily concealed handguns known as Saturday Night Specials. Just over one-third favored suing firearm manufacturers or banning personal possession of handguns. Full benefit from any firearm design modification will likely take years to materialize.