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CU Opposes Daisy Air Gun Settlement

November 14, 2003
Contact: Sally Greenberg, 202-462-6262

Education and Information Campaigns Have
Not Been Effective in Past at Preventing Injuries

(Washington, D.C.) — After reviewing the terms of the Daisy Powerline Air Gun settlement announced today by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which requires only an “education and information” campaign, Consumers Union’s Senior Product Safety Counsel Sally Greenberg made the following statement:
“We regret that two of the three CPSC Commissioners have agreed to settle this case by agreeing to a toothless education and information campaign that will do nothing to prevent the deaths and injuries to users of these air BB guns, the vast majority of whom are teenagers or younger children.
“CPSC has abdicated its responsibility to protect the public – in this case children – from a dangerous product, and given Daisy a free pass that allows them to escape recalling the product or fixing it in the future. This is a sad day for product safety,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg said “information and education campaigns” have been notoriously ineffective. The All Terrain Vehicle Manufacturers have been conducting such campaigns since the 1990s, yet the number of injuries has doubled in the past five years since the ATV industry was released from its obligations under the CPSC’s consent decree. “It’s time for Congress and the CPSC to take tough and decisive action to protect consumers, particularly children,” she said.
Greenberg also objected to the way in which the agreement was reached, which according to dissenting CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore, appears to violate CPSC procedures. Greenberg agrees with Moore, who in his statement on the agency’s Web site noted, “The bottom line is that we are not the Business Protection Agency; we are the Consumer Product Safety Commission….Our statutes do not put a company’s finances above the public’s safety.”
The CPSC said in an Oct. 30, 2001, news release that the Daisy Powerline Airguns had caused 15 deaths and 171 serious injuries, 80 percent of which were to children under the age of 16. The CPSC (led at the time by previous CPSC Chairman, Ann Brown) filed an administrative lawsuit against the gun manufacturer, Daisy Manufacturers, seeking recall of 7.5 million guns and notification that several models of the guns were defective. The CPSC believed the guns were defective because BBs could become lodged in the magazine of the airguns, even though the airgun can appear empty. The stuck BB can then become dislodged, causing death or serious injury if fired in the direction of another person.