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Industry Skeptical on Gun Proposal

January 18, 2000

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ James Maupin checked out the sight on a new Smith & Wesson handgun at the world’s largest gun show Tuesday and offered his assessment on President Clinton’s newest gun legislation proposal.

``It means spending a lot more money on feel-good projects,″ said Maupin, owner of JDM Enterprises, a Green Valley, Calif., gun dealership. ``This will solve no problems. It will just create a new bureaucracy and do nothing. It’s nonsense.″

Clinton announced Tuesday that he was asking Congress for $280 million in additional funds to hire 500 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and inspectors and to create a program to track guns through ballistics testing.

Maupin, a Los Angeles County police officer for 30 years before opening his gun shop, was one of some 30,000 people attending the 22nd annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. The event is billed as the world’s largest gun show, with a Who’s Who of gun manufacturers exhibiting their weapons.

Participants greeted Clinton’s latest initiative with the same response often advanced by the industry.

``We have plenty of gun laws,″ said Ken Jorgensen, director of media relations for gun manufacturing giant Smith & Wesson. ``We certainly need to see those laws enforced. Communities who have enforced gun laws have seen crime decrease.″

There has been and will continue to be ``a certain amount of political posturing″ on gun control issues, Jorgensen added.

``If the president wants to spend more to enforce current laws, that’s great,″ Jorgensen said. ``A law that goes unenforced isn’t much of a deterrent.″

Some 1,400 companies are showcasing items ranging from rifles and handguns to hunting gear, clothing, knives, scopes and holsters at the show, which runs through Thursday. The show is closed to the public and manufacturers sell only to distributors, who sell to dealers.

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