A Major Gun Company Became An Industry Pariah After It Made Its Guns Safer

heston nra from my cold dead hands

In the wake of a massacre at a Connecticut elementary school last week, the Harvard Business Review reports business leaders need to step up to stop gun violence.

But when a gun company executive tried to curb gun violence in 2000, he was basically blackballed by the NRA, the article pointed out.

An article from The New York Times in 2001 outlines the actions taken by former Smith & Wesson CEO Ed Shultz:

Last March, in an attempt to defuse lawsuits the company was facing from at least 29 municipalities that held handgun manufacturers responsible for violent crimes, Mr. Shultz entered into an agreement with the federal government. He said that Smith & Wesson would include locks on its handguns, research and implement ”smart-gun” technology that would only allow the owner of a gun to operate it and improve the way retailers sold its products.

The NRA was beyond furious. It questioned his experience. Its members were told “that Smith & Wesson “became the first gun maker to run up the white flag of surrender and duck behind the Clinton-Gore lines.”

The result was “a boycott by the National Rifle Association” that “made Smith & Wesson an industry outcast,” the Times reported in 2006. Shultz left the gun maker by September.

It’s unknown whether the NRA would continue to take such a hard-line stance more than a decade later, and shortly after the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. The organization’s public statement Tuesday left the impression that the NRA is open to more restrictions on firearms, closing with: “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

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