Mayor Lee Orders the City to Buy Socially Responsible Guns

When you think of socially responsible products, you think of Fair Trade coffee or solar panels. Now, Mayor Ed Lee wants to add guns to that list.

On Jan. 20, Lee issued an executive directive ordering city cops to buy firearms and ammunition only from “socially responsible” arms manufacturers. He also asked the Office of Contract Administration to review the city's firearms vendors to “identify opportunities for more socially responsible procurement practices.”

The mayor's criteria for social responsibility are vague (and his office didn't respond to a request for details by press deadline), although he values companies that cooperate with law enforcement, educate buyers on gun safety, and keep clear inventory records.

Jersey City, N.J., issued a similar order in 2014, and in 2000, New York State sought to codify a “code of conduct” for gun manufacturers doing business with local governments. Gun companies and the National Shooting Sports Foundation successfully sued to nix that measure, and say Lee's effort is similarly doomed.

“This recycled gun control tactic failed utterly when tried 15 years ago,” says Larry Keane, senior vice president of the NSSF. “Law enforcement should be free to select the firearm that best suits the needs of its officers.”

For the SFPD, that firearm is manufactured by Sig Sauer, a German company that's been investigated for alleged illegal exports to Kazakhstan and Colombia. Of course, these days, Mayor Lee should worry less about who made those guns and more about how cops use them.

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