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For Immediate Release

Browning Adds Gun Locking Devices to Their Arsenal of Firearms

Starting in January, 1999, U. S. Repeating Arms Company, manufacturer of the Winchester brand of rifles and shotguns, and Browning will provide a locking device with each and every firearm shipped to their dealers and distributors. When used properly, this device will render the firearm inoperable, which may help to prevent its unauthorized use by children and others.

"Browning and U. S. Repeating Arms Co. are totally committed to firearms safety," stated CEO, Don Gobel. "We are proud of the freedom in America to choose whether or not to own a firearm. We have always vigorously promoted safe and responsible firearm ownership, storage and use. Adding gun locks is part of that continuing commitment. We do all we can to make our guns safe and to educate hunters and shooters in safe gun handling practices.

"Every Browning and Winchester firearm is designed to meet the strict industry safety standards established by the Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute. These standards include trigger pull specifications, drop tests and other mechanical requirements, designed to help prevent accidental discharges.

"We also provide a very comprehensive owner's manual with every Browning and Winchester firearm. Each manual is specific to the model of the firearm it accompanies. The first part of each manual is a complete list of safety precautions and instructions, printed in bold, red type.

"We also recommend the use of gun safes in the home, and, in fact, we actually market a complete line of gun safes as a complement to our concern for firearms safety."

When asked about the millions of firearms already owned and about carry over inventories which were not shipped with gun locking devices, Gobel commented, "we encourage all existing gun owners to obtain an appropriate gun locking device for each firearm they own. For those who are purchasing a new or used gun that does not include a gun locking device, we strongly recommend that they purchase one appropriate for the model gun they are buying from their dealer. Most dealers offer a range of gun lock devices in order to accommodate every gun type they sell. Suggested retail prices are very affordable, usually around $10.00 or less.

"However," Gobel continued, "it is dangerous to suggest that merely including a locking device with every gun sold can substitute for common sense and responsibility. Placing a trigger lock on a firearm should never be suggested as an alternative to safe firearms storage.

"Locking devices must not be presented as a substitute for decades old rules of firearms owner responsibility. Using a locking device should not be considered an invitation to become less vigilant with firearms. Education and industry campaigns on firearms safety have served to reduce accidental firearm fatalities by 50 percent over the last 30 years," Gobel noted.

The firearms industry is strictly regulated. Browning and U. S. Repeating Arms Co., along with all other firearm manufacturers, are forbidden to ship firearms to anyone not possessing a Federal Firearms License. Since 1968, retailers cannot sell a firearm to an individual who does not meet the criteria listed in the 4473 Federal Firearms Transaction form, which must be recorded for each sale. Starting December 1, 1998, the new Federal National Instant Check System requires every prospective purchaser to pass a computer background check.

Gobel pointed out that between 60 and 65 million Americans own firearms, according to the latest industry estimates. "It is a small percentage of the total gun users who are committing crimes. We totally support tougher laws for criminals and a stricter criminal justice system without early release or easy plea-bargaining.

"Browning, U. S. Repeating Arms Co., and our counterparts in this industry have always placed extreme emphasis on the safe and sane use of firearms and will continue to encourage education and responsibility for gun owners."
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