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Advocacy Groups Vow to Fight; Youngsters 'Psyched'

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. ( — Seeking to penetrate the youth market that has long eluded them, Smith & Wesson and Perrier today announced a joint venture to produce Mountain Spring-Loaded Water®, a line of bottled ammunition for water pistols and squirt guns.

Positioned as "the pure ammunition alternative," Mountain Spring-Loaded Water is expected to be in stores by summer, but child advocacy groups have already dubbed it "the most irresponsible product" to come out since Little People Poppers -- the short-lived brand of caffeinated sugar pills released by Fischer Price and Merck Pharmaceuticals last year.

Print Ad for Water Pistol Ammo

Despite the threat of a boycott by several groups, major retailers insist they will load up on the sparkling ammo, as they expect a windfall from the estimated 51 million underage water pistol owners in the United States and Europe.

"For the last several years, gun manufacturers have all but ignored minors, acting as if our money wasn't good enough for them," said 14-year-old Tyler Hemera, president of the New York-based Gen Y Consumer Council. "This product shows my generation they do respect our purchasing power, and we will react accordingly."

As for Perrier, Hemera continued, "from here on out, I'm, like, main-lining the stuff. And that goes for everyone I know."

Executives from the joint venture, dubbed Wessier, downplayed opponents' fears that the Smith & Wesson-backed product will encourage youngsters to play more aggressively with water pistols, and possibly "trade up" to real firearms.

According to Wessier CEO Martin Patrinot, formerly director Smith & Wesson Youth Outreach, the company's chemical-free ammunition will not only prolong the life of water pistols by keeping the action clean, but also, "included in each package will be a pamphlet designed to teach little juvie shooters about gun safety and storage."

However, Virginia Gloss, executive director of the Child-Consumer Safety Council, said referring to children as "little juvie shooters" is "appalling, frankly," and may only escalate the increasing number of incidents between police officers and children wielding realistic-looking squirt guns.

Patrinot denied that allegation. "The first thing the pamphlet says, on line one, is never, ever aim a water pistol at a law enforcement officer," he said. "And after that? Let's see, after that it explains how even a small squirt gun, if used effectively, can take out a tiny assailant at 20 feet. Somebody trying to grab your Pokémon cards, something like that."


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