September 2001

Buybacks, Safety, Registration

GUN BUYBACKS END. The Bush administration has announced that it will no longer fund a controversial gun-buyback program by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The legality of the program, which was launched by former HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo, was questioned from the start because it diverted federal money earmarked for eliminating illegal drugs from public housing projects.

A preliminary study of the HUD-funded program conducted by a University of Missouri-St. Louis researcher concluded that they “are not effective. There is no evidence that they directly reduce gun violence in the form of assaults or gun homicides.”


VANGUARD SAFETY UPGRADE. Weatherby Inc. has announced an important free safety upgrade on all Vanguard rifles manufactured between 1970 and 1993. Owners of affected rifles should stop using their rifles immediately and visit www.weatherby.com or call Weatherby at (800) 227-2018 to receive a bolt-return kit. Use of an affected Vanguard rifle before the safety upgrade is performed may result in an accident and severe injury. Only the bolt sleeve is being upgraded. Bolts will be returned to owners following the upgrade.

The affected rifles bear serial numbers from one of the following series on the receiver: 00001 through 03810, V00001 through V80966, VX00001 through VX44065, VS00001 through VS23699, VL00001 through VL46984, W0001 through W0099 and NV001 through NV0099. No other Weatherby rifles are affected.

Weatherby’s free safety upgrade will prevent misassembly of the bolt, which might occur on the affected rifles. All work will be done at the factory at no charge. Upgraded bolts will be returned at no charge.


HANDGUN LICENSING BILLS. Two bills that would establish a handgun licensing system in California are moving through the legislature. Both will require handgun buyers to pay a fee, submit their name, address and thumbprint to authorities, and undergo safety training and a gun range proficiency test before purchasing a handgun. California already imposes a 10-day waiting period on all firearm purchases, requires buyers to undergo a criminal background check and pass a dealer-conducted written safety test, and requires sales to be reported to the state Attorney General’s office. In addition, the state mandates that locking devices must be sold with all new firearms, imposes penalties for unsafe storage, and imposes severe manufacturing restrictions on new handguns.

Gun-control advocates hope that if a licensing bill passes in the Golden State, it will serve as an impetus for other states. “Once it’s law in California, I think other states will quickly follow,” said a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a co-sponsor of the bill.

When will such registration come to your state?

-Todd Woodard