Hillary Clinton knows that her base is pro-gun control. You can tell she knows this because the fact that her competitor for the Democratic nomination isn’t as dogmatic about guns as she is has helped focus her attacks on him over the issue. Now the NRA seems to be helping Ms. Clinton sharpen her claws since the gun lobbyist released a statement, essentially praising Bernie for his belief that gun manufacturers shouldn’t be liable for crimes committed with guns they make.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Clinton — or any other rational adult — thinks Bernie is wrong.
I get it; guns are not candy. And I have dispensed with God knows how many hours of my of my life writing Christ only knows how many tens of thousands of words in support of gun control measures. So I’m someone who would be willingly identified as pro-gun control and even I think it’s a bridge too far to write legislation that punishes companies for a crime someone else committed using one of their products; even gun manufacturers.
Oh, and the NRA? The NRA is trolling. Don’t feed the troll.
Maybe it’s because I’ve never viewed gun manufacturers as “evil,” or maybe it’s because of something else, but to me the fact that they build and sell guns doesn’t mean we should open this line of litigation up, at least not under normal circumstances. No doubt that they shouldn’t be allowed to stymie research on gun violence and should work with us to make their products safer, but show me a case where a gun company willingly sold guns to under-aged kids who went and shot up a mall or their school and I’ll say you should sue that gun manufacturer, not just any manufacturer of a gun that happened to be used in a crime.
But, and believe me, I know the irony in this question, would we hold a car manufacturer liable in the same way?
If someone inappropriately used their car to mow down a boardwalk full of tourists, would we let someone sue Buick if it was a Skylark that they were driving? Or would we punish the person who broke the law and killed people? See, this is where people who argue against any forms of gun control gain traction with the public, when otherwise sensible people start losing their damn minds just because a gun is involved.
No one in their right mind thinks that guns are regulated enough; not in a country of 330 million people that has more guns than that in it anyway. Someone who tells you it’s hard to get a gun in this country is lying through their teeth. This issue is whether or not the mainstream “Democratic Party” thought is too far to the authoritarian side, and for my money, if the mainstream agrees with Mrs. Clinton, then it absolutely is.
I don’t think a pencil maker should be held liable if someone over-sharpens their product and stabs someone’s eyeball out with it. I don’t think it’s right to sue a butcher because someone poisoned some of their beef and fed it to their boss and killed him. Of course guns are intended to be used to kill, but the same basic principle applies — you can’t punish someone for a crime they didn’t commit. And selling a fully-lawful product isn’t a crime, no matter how much we all want that product better regulated.
If those who want this country to be more logical with guns aren’t careful they can tiptoe into Radical Town themselves. There’s about a Grand Canyon’s worth of difference between regulating how, when, and to whom one can sell a deadly weapon and holding the manufacturer of said deadly weapon legally responsible for something done with that deadly weapon. Until we decide as a society we don’t have a right to self-defense, weapons manufacturers will exist legally. That means they deserve the same protection as any company.
So yeah, you can’t sue a dildo manufacturer when you shove their product too far up a sunshine-free orifice and you can’t sue a gun manufacturer when someone uses their product in a way they didn’t intend it to be used.
It’s a gray, murky area of gun regulation to be sure. But it’s one in which proponents of tougher gun laws need to find reality and latch-on tight. If they do, they can prove to gun rights advocates that they can be trusted to be reasonable. Being reasonable tends to open doors. That seems like a good way to like, find better solutions to problems…but who the shit wants that, right?