Meet the Teddy Gun, a gun control spot comparing toy regs to gun regs (VIDEO)

An Illinois gun control group argues that federal safety regulations for manufacturing toys are stricter than those for firearms.

The spot, created for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, opens with a dark outline immediately identifiable as a teddy bear, then pans out and brightens until it is clear as the “toy” rotates it is built around a revolver, the muzzle and loaded cylinder pointed at the fourth wall.

“Teddy bears need to follow strict safety manufacturing guidelines,” says the narrator. “Scores of safety regulations. Ninety pages of requirements. Numerous rules. Across federal and state regulatory bodies. Unless that teddy bear is a gun.”

The website pushed by the spot does not propose more gun manufacturing regulation, but instead stumps for expanded background checks on all gun sales and increased CDC research on gun deaths at the federal level coupled with an Ilinois-centric drive for state licensing of FFLs and a “Lethal Gun Violence Order of Protection Act,” similar to mandatory gun restraining order laws passed in Washington and California in the past few years.

At their site, the group lists a host of ASTM and CFR rules and regulations regarding toy production, compared to one — a Type 7 Federal Firearms Licence– needed for gun production.

The Type 7 is for Manufacturer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices, which involves an 18-page application to begin the process which involves remaining in compliance with all federal laws. To keep FFL’s “in the know” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ condensed version of federal firearms law is 237-pages long.

In 2015, ATF’s Industry Operations Investigators conducted 8,696 FFL inspections and recommended revocation or denial of a license in at least 46 cases.  In instances where compliance investigators found criminal charges were warranted, they are pursued.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the firearms industry, freely admits that gun and ammo makers are exempt from the Consumer Product Safety Act — but points out that so are industries that produce motor vehicles, pesticides, aircraft, aircraft engines and boats.

“The truth is the gun industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries,” notes the NSSF, holding that over 20,000 state, federal and local laws exist to regulate firearms. “Firearms and ammunition, while exempt from the CPSA, are subject to the same product-liability laws as other products.”

Indeed, even with the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, gun makers are not insulated from liability claims. In recent years both Taurus and Remington have settled multimillion-dollar federal lawsuits over allegedly defective firearms.

The ad was produced by FCB Chicago.

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