A popular political promise these days is the notion – We’re going to hold the gun manufacturers accountable for gun deaths.
What exactly are we making them accountable for? Accountable for making a safe and legal product or accountable for everyone’s use of the product, lawful or unlawful, at some point in the future?
Okay, so let’s say this actually happens. It would require repealing Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and would be an unprecedented move by the US Government. It would also open Pandora’s box of lawsuits against any maker of any product ever used to harm anther person. But for now, let’s go with it.
First, we need to determine who can sue a firearms manufacturer. Obviously anyone injured or killed by someone committing a crime, that’s the core audience behind this push. But what about the criminal who is shot during a home invasion? Certainly that criminal has legal standing. What if a law enforcement officer shoots the criminal? Does the criminal’s legal standing change if an agent of the government is involved? And what if the officer’s actions are later determined to be unlawful? Should the person shot have the right to sue the manufacturer then? Naturally, our nation’s military use of firearms has got to be added in here too.
So refining the logic down a bit, if a shooting is “good” or justified, then you would assume there would be no legal liability for the manufacturer. If the shooting is “bad” or unjustified/illegal, then that would seem to invoke the civil liability. Bad = lawsuit, good = no lawsuit. That doesn’t seem quite balanced. We’re going to punish them for the bad but not reward them for the good.
As a matter of fairness to the manufacturers, maybe we should do a quick tally at the end of the year and put all the “good” firearm uses in one column and all of the “bad” uses in the other. But what about those cases where a firearm is used, but not fired? Certainly those should be counted. Maybe we’ll give a half point for each of those.
And then, how do we count the deterrent effect a firearm may have? Would our law enforcement officers be as effective if unarmed? Would any our current elected officials or political candidates be willing to visit <insert name of your favorite big city> with unarmed Secret Service, police or other security? And how do we count a criminal’s hesitation to attack, rob, rape or just plain kill someone because that person might be armed and able to stop them instead.
As foolish as all of this sounds, it’s equally foolish to hold a manufacturer liable for an individuals choice in how to use their product.
If a product – any product – is considered safe when used legally, then why would it be considered unsafe when used illegally?
#oddstuffing #accountable #2ndamendment