Report Says Most Gun Locks Fail Test

Wednesday, February 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government safety tests determined that all but one of 32 models of gun locks could be opened without the key — some just by striking them hard, The Washington Post reports.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission planned to urge the gun-lock industry Wednesday to develop standards to make sure locks work as advertised, the newspaper said. There have been no reports of shootings attributed to failed gun locks, the CPSC said.

``There are 12 safety standards for every toy, but there is not one safety standard for a gun lock, even though people are depending on these to keep their kids away from guns,'' CPSC Chairwoman Ann Brown told the Post.

``We found you could open locks with paper clips, a pair of scissors or tweezers, or you could whack them on the table and they would open,'' she said. ``If I can do that, any 5-year-old can.''

The commission also announced a voluntary recall of 400,000 gun locks distributed to homes across the country under ``Project Homesafe'' by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., on Wednesday introduced legislation instructing the CPSC to set a quality standard for all child safety devices used on firearms. ``It only makes sense that all gun locks should meet a real safety standard,'' Engel said. ``This bill will allow families to have confidence that gun locks they buy will protect the lives of their children.''

Bill Brassard, national coordinator of Project Homesafe, said gun locks have never been advertised as invincible.

``I'm not saying that these locks can't be defeated,'' Brassard was quoted by the Post. ``They can by a determined adult who wants to gain access to a firearm. That's why a gun lock is only part of a safety program, along with gun safes, locked boxes and drawers — and always keeping ammunition separate from the gun.''

Half the locks tested were cable locks, in which a cord is threaded through the gun's empty magazine to disable it and then placed in a padlock. The CPSC said the 32 locks were representative of most of those on the market, and that each lock underwent several tests. All but one lock failed at least one of the tests.

CPSC officials said the tests were designed to determine ``foreseeable use and misuse.''

The lock being recalled was manufactured by Adstar Inc. of Merrick, N.Y., and resembles a bicycle lock with a red cable and a black padlock. The words ``project,'' ``homesafe'' and ``made in China'' are found around the top and bottom of the lock and ''30mm'' is imprinted on the bottom.

The commission said owners of the locks should call 800-726-6444 for a free replacement with an improved locking mechanism and a thicker steel cable.


On the Net:


Report Says Most Gun Locks Fail Test


National Shooting Sports Foundation

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Web site