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Dell falls foul of pro-gun lobby

Combat zone

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The USA's awesomely powerful pro-gun lobby is taking aim at Dell, after the patriotic Texan, PC maker, refused to take an order from a prominent American pistolsmith.

Jack Weigand, president of the American Pistolsmiths Guild, was told by Dell that the company had refused to complete his order for a notebook, following the company's post September 11-screening policies. The reason? The name of Wiegand's company, Weigand Combat Handguns inc., failed the screen, apparently because of the combat bit.

Weigand promptly ran up a statement on his website, calling on "the firearms community to do the following. If you intended to buy a Dell and because of this letter you do not, email Dell and let them know why." He then posted it on firearms forums (and our thanks to Leadshot.com for alerting us to this story).

Weigand got really mad when he found out that Dell numbered Handgun Control as a member of its sales affiliate program, by which companies gain fees for referrals. Proof, he reckons, that Dell is in league with the US anti-gun lobby.

Nonsense, says Dell. Spokeswoman Cathy Hargett told Newsbytes that Dell "has not taken a position on the issue of gun control. Not in our sponsorships, not in our giving, and not in our public policy."

Handgun Control Inc, now officially known as the Brady Campaign, told Newsbyte's Brian McWilliams that it had never received any money from Dell.

So why did the company refuse to serve Weigand? It was all a terrible mistake, Dell says, although it's not clear if human error or poor computer programming is to blame. Dell says it is very sorry and has offered to ship a laptop free of charge to Weigand; he has, reportedly, refused the offer.

It does seem unfair that Dell should be targeted because of the beliefs of its sales affiliates - think how difficult life would be for Amazon, if this were the case.

But it looks like it's got a PR battle royale on its hands. ®

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