Houston Chronicle Will No Longer Accept Classified Ads for Handguns and Assault Weapons 5/21/2003 Press Release Texans for Gun Safety PMB 498, 1302 Waugh Drive Houston, Texas 77019 www.texansforgunsafety.org Contact: Dave Smith Phone: 713-827-8916 Houston, TX - The Houston Chronicle, Texas' largest daily newspaper and the ninth largest newspaper in the country with a circulation of 550,000, will no longer accept classified ads for handguns, except from licensed firearms dealers. And the newspaper will not accept classified ads for assault weapons from anyone - licensed or not. The Chronicle will continue to accept classified ads for long guns: rifles and shotguns. The new policy went into effect on May 1, 2003. A Chronicle spokesman said, "It's the right thing to do." The Chronicle changed its policy after receiving a request from Texans for Gun Safety. Dave Smith, president of TGS issued the following statement. "We congratulate and commend the Houston Chronicle for their common sense action to promote the health and safety of the community. Newspaper classifieds are an open door for criminals, domestic abusers, minors, terrorists, and others who cannot pass a background check to get guns with no background check, no questions asked and no records kept. We call on all newspapers and media across the state that carry advertisements for the sale of firearms to join this action by the Houston Chronicle in promoting public health and safety." Texans for Gun Safety is a participating organization in the National Campaign to Close the Newspaper Gun Loophole - the unregulated sale of firearms through classified ads in newspapers without a background check on the would-be buyer. The National Campaign to Close the Newspaper Gun Loophole is a coalition of approximately 25 gun violence prevention organizations. The campaign is asking newspapers all across the country to voluntarily stop taking classified ads for firearms from unlicensed sellers. The campaign does not object to newspapers taking classified ads from licensed firearms dealers because licensed dealers, unlike unlicensed sellers who sell guns through the classifieds, are required to conduct criminal background checks on all buyers Since the campaign began in November 2001, the following newspapers have changed their classified advertising policy on firearms: Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Sandusky (Ohio) Register, Willoughby (Ohio) News-Herald, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald, and now the Houston Chronicle. "Closing the newspaper loophole is easy," said John Johnson, an Iowa gun violence prevention advocate who founded the campaign. "It doesn't take an Act of Congress. All it takes is a management decision that can be implemented with a simple memo that says, `As of today, this newspaper will no longer accept classified ads for firearms from unlicensed sellers.'" Additional information on the National Campaign to Close the Newspaper Loophole can be found at www.gunloophole.com.