U.S. seeks recall of 7.5 million BB guns

October 30, 2001
Posted: 2:43 PM EST (1943 GMT)
By Julie Vallese CNN Consumer Safety Editor

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday it will take the nation's oldest and largest manufacturer of BB guns to court to force a recall of models that the agency claims can appear empty when they are not.

The commission voted 2-1 to begin legal proceedings to force Daisy Manufacturing Co. of Rogers, Arkansas, to recall its 856 and 880 Powerline models, about 7.5 million guns.

The CPSC said the BB gun contains a defect that allows BBs to become trapped inside, making the user believe the gun is not loaded. That poses a substantial risk of injury or death, the CPSC said. The commission said Daisy has refused to voluntarily recall the air guns, which it has sold since 1972.

There was no immediate response from Daisy.

The recall proposal was filed last year on behalf of a Pennsylvania teen who was permanently disabled when his best friend accidentally shot him in the head. The boy's family contends both boys believed the gun had been emptied after target practice. Instead, a BB had been lodged in the gun and came out later.

Daisy settled a civil suit on the incident for $18 million.

Because BB guns use air instead of explosives to propel their ammunition, they are not considered a firearm, allowing them to fall under the jurisdiction of the CPSC.

The high-powered BB guns in question fire at about 650 feet per second, the commission said. If pumped enough, some of the guns might fire at a velocity of about 750 feet per second or as fast as a .38 special, it said.

A 1994 report from the CPSC said about 3.2 million air guns are sold each year. That same report said about 20,000 or more accidents related to the air guns had been reported each year for some five years.

The action is one of the last for CPSC Chairman Ann Brown, who is resigning her position November 1.

Since 1989 the commission has started six mandatory recall proceedings. The other cases involved P&M Enterprises' Worm Gett'r probe, Central Omega sprinklers, Black and Decker under-the-counter space-saver toasters, Cadet wall heaters, and Sunbeam fire sprinklers. The Sunbeam case is still pending.

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