BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : AUGUST 16, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY

A Divided Camp


Fearing for their survival, some of the oldest and largest gun manufacturers are beginning to break away from the NRA's hard line on handgun control. That's considered treachery by smaller players on the West Coast, in Florida, and elsewhere. A few key members of each camp:

THE HAWKS

LORCIN ENGINEERING
Headquartered in Southern California's Ring of Fire, Lorcin specializes in cheap Saturday night specials. Its top seller, the Lorcin .380, is consistently among the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms' top 10 crime guns.

JENNINGS COMPANIES
Bryco Arms, Davis Industries, and Phoenix Arms, Ring of Fire companies owned by relatives of distributor Bruce Jennings, all sell inexpensive handguns. Jennings is dead set against any concessions. If manufacturers were to give opponents what they ask, ''about a year later, they'd be out of business,'' he says.

NAVEGAR
Perhaps the most controversial gun manufacturer in the U.S., Miami-based Navegar produced the Tec-9 semiautomatic pistol used in the Littleton massacre. CEO Carlos Garcia (photo taken in 1989) has brazenly publicized the ''excellent resistance to fingerprints'' provided by the Tec-9's coating.


THE DOVES

SMITH & WESSON
A division of Britain's Tomkins, it is the largest U.S. producer of handguns. While Smith & Wesson, like other manufacturers, has angered handgun-control advocates by selling easy-to-conceal pistols known as ''pocket rockets,'' it was also among the first to ship child-safety locks with its products.

COLT'S MANUFACTURING
Founded in 1836, the company whose .44 revolver helped win the West is now trying to lessen its dependence on the types of guns typically used in crimes and is branching into new markets. President Steve Sliwa is promoting its prototype ''smart gun,'' which can only be fired by the owner.

GLOCK
The largest importer of handguns into the U.S., the Austrian company joined Smith & Wesson in preliminary peace talks in June with Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell, who launched one of the first municipal lawsuits against the industry.



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