Tags: Gun Control | guns | smith wesson | gun history

Smith and Wesson's Controversy: How Firearms Brand Stirred Up Debate

By    |   Tuesday, 07 April 2015 12:04 PM

Smith & Wesson, a globally-renown name in firearms, has been the focal point of controversy among those who support the right to bear arms and those seeking gun control.  During the administration of former President Bill Clinton, Smith & Wesson’s owners stirred up the debate over gun control by agreeing to gun regulations.

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According to Business Insider, the move almost put the company out of business.

Clinton’s legislation called for a limit to magazine sizes, as well as requirements for locking devices and limitations on firearms. Smith & Wesson’s support of these measures enraged the National Rifle Association.

The arms maker, which was once the face of firearms for soldiers and law enforcement, was considered a pariah by the NRA for agreeing to safety regulations being proposed.

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The New York Times reported that Smith & Wesson had agreed to adopt the regulations in 2000 in order to settle lawsuits being brought forward by state and federal agencies.

Events like the Newton, Conn. school shooting have led to companies bowing to public pressure and government regulation in order to stay in business.

But with the competition folding, as Winchester firearms folded and Colt Manufacturing struggled, Smith & Wesson has rebounded.

"No company in modern history has come back from the dead like Smith & Wesson," said Russ Thurman, editor of Shooting Magazine, told The New York Times. "In the dark days for Smith & Wesson, you'd go to a trade show and there would be an invisible cone of silence around the Smith & Wesson booth. Now you have to get into a fist fight to get close to their displays."

Not only has the company regained the business of the United States government, but Smith & Wesson also serves foreign entities. This “Buy American” company provides firearms to the Afghan police and the Iraqi government.

In 2005, Smith & Wesson signed a $20 million contract to provide firearms to the Afghan police. They gave law enforcement 22,500 9mm double-action semi-automatic pistols. The brand is one of a handful of companies on the approved list of gun makers to provide weapons to the country.

Selling overseas, however, has been a problem for Smith & Wesson. In 2014, the company was found guilty of bribing officials in Pakistan and Indonesia, offering free weapons while vying for contracts. The company was hit with a $2 million fine by the U.S. government, CNN reported. 

But the U.S. didn’t hold the fine against the company for long.

In early 2015, the company was back in the running for U.S. contracts, hoping to win the bidding war for the contract to provide the Army with weapons. An Army contract would bring in immediate revenue, and association with the Army would give the brand icon status. According to CNN, military weapons earn a cult following, which generates into large revenues.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Smith & Wesson, a globally-renown name in firearms, has been the focal point of controversy among those who support the right to bear arms and those seeking gun control.
guns, smith wesson, gun history
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 12:04 PM
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