House guns down trigger-guards

A Colorado congresswoman has infuriated gun-safety advocates by helping shoot down a trigger-lock mandate that Congress approved just last year.

Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave won an amendment to a Justice Department appropriations bill that would prevent any money from being spent to enforce a mandate that gun dealers sell trigger locks with the weapons they sell.

President Bush had signed the trigger-lock requirement into law last year as part of a larger gun-liability bill, but Musgrave’s amendment preventing its enforcement was included in the larger appropriations package, which easily passed the House of Representatives Thursday.

If the provision survives negotiations over a pending Senate version of the bill, it would prevent gun dealers from being punished for ignoring the mandate.

“Trigger locks do not stop gun crimes or accidental shootings,” Musgrave said during Wednesday night’s debate. “Mandating gun buyers to pay for a gun lock is not making America safe. It just is making guns and self-defense and personal protection more costly.”

Gun-safety advocates said Musgrave’s measure endangers lives to save a few dollars for each weapon sold.

“It’s so foul, it’s disgusting,” said Peter Hamm, communications director for the Brady Campaign, which lobbied for the measure in 2005. “There’s nothing that some individuals in the House of Representatives won’t do for the gun lobby, including putting the lives of little children at risk.”

Hamm said that last year 2,849 children or teenagers died from gunfire in the United States, and he believes trigger locks are key to reducing the fatalities.

“Congresswoman Musgrave should be ashamed of herself and should be run out of town on a rail,” Hamm said.

Musgrave’s amendment passed by a 230-191 vote.

Musgrave chief of staff Guy Short called the trigger-lock requirement an unnecessary federal mandate that doesn’t increase safety.

“(Musgrave) is very supportive of personal protection, as well as gun safety,” Short said. “People ought to keep their guns safe and supervised, but the federal government ought not to be telling gun dealers what to sell with their firearms.”