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Time to Level Playing Field for Gun Makers
Investors' Business Daily ^ | April 26, 2005 | By John R. Lott, Jr.

Posted on 04/27/2005 10:27:30 AM PDT by neverdem

Every product has illegitimate uses and undesirable consequences, but even lawsuits have had their limits. In 2002 in the U.S., car accidents killed 45,380 people and injured another 3 million, 838 children under the age of 15 drowned, 474 children died from residential fires, and 130 children died in bicycle accidents.

Fortunately, local governments haven’t started recouping medical costs or police salaries by suing auto or bicycle companies, pool builders or makers of home heaters.

All sorts of products, including cars and computers, are also used in the commission of crimes. But again, no one yet seriously proposes that these companies be sued for the losses from these crimes.

People understand what makes a car useful for everyday life also makes it useful to escape a crime and that you can't hold a car company liable for a product that’s working exactly as it should. They understand that the penalty should be on the person who uses the product improperly.

Yet suing manufacturers for costs cities incur from gun injuries and deaths is exactly the theory behind government lawsuits by cities against gun makers. George Soros, via the Brady Campaign, has funded most of these suits.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee marked up their version of a bill to limit these suits, and the Senate will finally decide within the next couple of weeks whether these suits will continue. Last year the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" to rein in these suits was defeated when Democrats added amendments to extend the so-called assault weapons ban.

Generally, suits against gun makers haven't had any more legal success than if similar suits had been brought against car companies. There have been some short term victories such as a decision last week by the D.C. Court of Appeals that will let the city sue makers of so-called "assault weapons" used in crime.

But while gun control advocates can dream about more such victories, the Brady Campaign had more practical goals: imposing large legal costs on gun makers. Even the largest gun companies make only a few million dollars in a good year. Those below the top 10 make just a few thousand guns a year and are usually family operations.

Obviously, bad things happen with guns. But the suits ignore that guns also prevent bad things by making it easier for victims to defend themselves. Unlike the tobacco suits, gun makers have powerful arguments about the benefits of gun ownership.

More than 450,000 crimes, including 10,800 murders, were committed with guns in 2002. But Americans also used guns defensively more than 2 million times that year, and more than 90 percent of the time merely brandishing the weapon was sufficient to stop an attack.

Police are important in reducing crime rates, but they virtually always arrive after a crime has been committed. When criminals confront people, resistance with a gun is by far the safest course of action. A 2004 survey found that 94% of 22,600 chiefs and sheriffs questioned thought that law-abiding citizens should be able to buy guns for self-defense.

My own research has found that increased gun ownership rates are associated with lower crime rates. Poor people in the highest crime areas benefit the most from owning guns. Lawsuits against gun makers will raise the price of firearms, which will most severely reduce gun ownership among the law-abiding, much-victimized poor.

Advocates for these suits claim that the gun makers make their weapons attractive to criminals through low price, easy concealability, corrosion resistance, accurate firing and high firepower. Lightweight, concealable guns may help criminals, but they also have helped protect law-abiding citizens and lower crime rates in the 46 states that to varying degrees allow concealed handguns.

Women benefit most and also find it easier to use smaller, lightweight guns. Poor victims benefit more than wealthier ones from the ability to protect themselves simply because they are more likely to be victims.

Some suits seek to hold gun makers liable because accidental deaths are "foreseeable" and not enough was done to make guns safe. Nationally, 31 children under 10 and 71 under 15 died from accidental gun deaths in 2001. Yet with 90 some million people owning more than 260 million guns, accidental deaths from guns are far less "foreseeable" than from many other products. Most gun owners must be very responsible or such gun accidents would be much more frequent.

Attempts to have the court system ignore a product's benefits to society are bad enough. Even worse is the cynical attempt to file bogus lawsuits simply to impose massive legal costs and eventually try bankrupting legitimate companies.

Passing the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" this month would still allow suits but would put gun makers on the same legal footing as other American manufacturers.

*Lott is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; donutwatch; hci; johnlott; soros; tortreformnow
Published Tuesday, April 26, 2005, in Investors' Business Daily, p. A13. His link to Investors' Business Daily failed, so I used the URL from Lott's website.
1 posted on 04/27/2005 10:27:38 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

All American industry should be protected, not just firearms makers.


2 posted on 04/27/2005 10:30:26 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: neverdem

The liberal left cannot stand the fact they are no longer in control of the Second Amendment...the Amendment they fear as much as the First Amendment.


3 posted on 04/27/2005 10:30:35 AM PDT by EagleUSA (q)
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To: EagleUSA

They fear it more because they cannot spin the 2nd Amendment the way they can the 1st.


4 posted on 04/27/2005 10:33:08 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: EagleUSA

2nd amendment
If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.
Joseph Stalin

One man with a gun can control 100 without one.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Democracy
Democracy is indispensable to socialism.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

NEA
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin



All these ideas/ideals are pushed hard by the Democrats, yet they will not face up to where these ideas/ideals came from...


5 posted on 04/27/2005 10:39:30 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: neverdem

I love this piece.

Note please, how many more children drown or die in bicycle accidents than are killed in gun accidents annually. You never, NEVER read about this stat...anywhere.


6 posted on 04/27/2005 10:46:38 AM PDT by RexBeach ("I can see it now. You and the moon. You wear a necktie so I'll know you." -Groucho Marx)
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To: neverdem
A 2004 survey found that 94% of 22,600 chiefs and sheriffs questioned thought that law-abiding citizens should be able to buy guns for self-defense.

I guarantee that the remaining 6% are political appointees in heavily 'Rat infested areas.

7 posted on 04/27/2005 10:46:57 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: neverdem

bttt


8 posted on 04/27/2005 10:47:11 AM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Spktyr

I have been saying it for almost two years now. Just take out any reference to firearms and state generally, "It shall be unlawful to sue a dealer, retailer, distributor, or manufacturer for actions resulting from the unlawful use of a lawful product."


9 posted on 04/27/2005 10:49:30 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: RexBeach
More children drown in buckets, swimming pools and toilets..yep toilets, & die from heart disease, than any ever do from firearms related accidents or injuries...

I have a toddler, they are fascinated with toilets, plenty of them tumble into the toilet and cannot get themselves out since they lack the physical strength and their heads are disproportionate in size and weight to their bodies, a characteristic of a toddler, big brain in a big head on top of a tiny body...Our Pediatrician emphasized this quite regularly to use.
10 posted on 04/27/2005 10:51:17 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: Spktyr

That is right. Some Dems want to ban a handgun made by FN that shoots a 6.5mm round. They claim that FN has an ad touting the ability for the bullet to pierce body armor and encouraging criminals to buy the pistol. I found the referenced ad. What a lie. The ad was in professional Law Enforcement and Soldier Journals aimed at Defense and Law Enforcement officials. The ad also points out that the armor piercing 6.5mm round is for government/law enforcement only and a civilian nonarmor piercing round is available for consumers. Yet the MSM reports the lie without reviewing the nuances of the ad.


11 posted on 04/27/2005 10:52:33 AM PDT by Fee (Great powers never let minor allies dictate who, where and when they must fight.)
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To: neverdem
"Police are important in reducing crime rates, but they virtually always arrive after a crime has been committed."

In fact, they are powerless to do anything until after the fact. They will tell you that and the courts say that you have no guarantee of personal protection from the police at all.

That's why the ability to legally protect yourself is so very important.

12 posted on 04/27/2005 10:52:49 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: MD_Willington_1976

NEA
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
======
Right out of the Marxist-Democrat playbook...welcome to America's academia, supported by communists, run by communists...and our kids and our country are suffering badly from it.


13 posted on 04/27/2005 10:53:29 AM PDT by EagleUSA (q)
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To: RexBeach
Note please, how many more children drown or die in bicycle accidents than are killed in gun accidents annually. You never, NEVER read about this stat...anywhere.

Thanks for the reminder to bookmark it.

14 posted on 04/27/2005 10:57:21 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Need to get in this thread for future reference. :)


15 posted on 04/27/2005 11:01:45 AM PDT by kx9088
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To: EagleUSA
Good morning.

The First Amendment is just hot air without the possibility of hot lead that the Second Amendment provides.

Michael Frazier
16 posted on 04/27/2005 11:05:47 AM PDT by brazzaville (No surrender,no retreat. Well, maybe retreat's ok)
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To: Fee

Um, the round is the 5.7x28, not the 6.5.


17 posted on 04/27/2005 11:05:56 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: EagleUSA
I describe this as "Soft War"...the cold war is not really over, the communist handlers let the "proles" free to roam the world with the seed of socialism (soft communism) in the back of their minds, each country they go to they push for more social reforms, public schooling, universal health care etc...in the end they have achieved their "means to an end" that fosters socialist ideas/ideals onto the general populace...with that in place they can tighten the noose with further restrictions under the guise of, for the children, for the populace, for the greater glory of their way of life.

Being from a Socialist country (Canada) I've seen this with my own eyes, all essential services are unionized, the "collective barganing agreement" for union members etc.., the most recent example was the attempted Government media ban on the ADSCAM scandal that the liberal government is trying to deal with presently. I'd call this tactic on par with what the PRC tells people about Tianemen square etc..
18 posted on 04/27/2005 11:14:14 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: Fee

I've seen that too, funny how they will not tell the populace how a hypodermic or knitting needle at close range can do the same thing...plenty of officers get pricked when they arrest Heroin users...Being shot and living is one thing, being stuck with a needle and living with Hepatitis or HIV is another...


19 posted on 04/27/2005 11:16:35 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: MD_Willington_1976

Ping


20 posted on 04/27/2005 11:21:12 AM PDT by mr_hammer (I call them as I see them!)
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To: mr_hammer

pong?


21 posted on 04/27/2005 11:26:32 AM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: brazzaville

The First Amendment is just hot air without the possibility of hot lead that the Second Amendment provides.
=======
Yes, true, but just as dangerous for anti-American leftists. The fear of disclosure and education of the weaker-minded masses is a big fear of theirs. Ala the "new media" and talk radio. They would silence that force in America in a second if they could. Their miserable, ridiculous attempt to counter conservative, pro-American talk radio, was not what they really wanted to do. If you dig deep, you will find far-leftist efforts in the Congress to "muzzle" free conservative speech.

The First Amendment will remain under attack. Great example: McCain-Feingold so-called campaign finance reform. Major blow to First Amendment rights passed by the Congress and signed by the President (which, then, shocked me, but now it does not)....

The U.S. Constitution -- UNDER SEIGE!!!


22 posted on 04/27/2005 11:37:48 AM PDT by EagleUSA (q)
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To: EagleUSA

Good afternoon.

Yes, you're right.

Michael Frazier


23 posted on 04/27/2005 12:08:44 PM PDT by brazzaville (No surrender,no retreat. Well, maybe retreat's ok)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for posting. Great information.

Save and bookmark for future reference.


24 posted on 04/27/2005 12:15:49 PM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: MD_Willington_1976
"our state never releases the human being from the cradle to the grave... we don not leg go of the human being and when that is over, the Labor Front comes and takes him once more and does not let him go until he dies, whether he likes it or not" -Dr. Robery Ley, head of Labor Front, Nazi Germany
25 posted on 04/27/2005 12:15:54 PM PDT by Rakkasan1 (The MRS wanted to go to an expensive place to eat so I took her to the gas station.)
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To: EagleUSA
McCain-Feingold so-called campaign finance reform. Major blow to First Amendment rights passed by the Congress and signed by the President

AND confirmed by the SCOTUS.

You are absolutely correct: The Constitution is under constant attack and has been ever since Marbury, and the current fiasco in congress (dims want to filibuster, pubbies too gutless to kick butt and get conservative judges seated) is not going to help anytime soon.

26 posted on 04/27/2005 12:34:40 PM PDT by Marauder (Politicians use words the way squids use ink.)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; King Prout; ..

Pardon this ping if you already saw the article on the banglist, but some may not be familiar with the banglist, or check it religiously. The statistics that Dr. Lott provides are useful in political arguments. Some may want to bookmark the article.

From time to time, I’ll ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.


27 posted on 04/27/2005 6:35:49 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

This is great that IBD ran this story. It's the truth that the MSM refuses to print. Kudos to Investor Business Daily.


28 posted on 04/27/2005 6:48:08 PM PDT by stevio (Remember 9/11 by buying a 1911)
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To: neverdem; All

Thanks for the ping. Great post and thread.


29 posted on 04/27/2005 6:49:30 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: neverdem

BTTT


30 posted on 04/27/2005 7:08:02 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: Spktyr
What an amazing article. And this paragraph says it all:

"More than 450,000 crimes, including 10,800 murders, were committed with guns in 2002. But Americans also used guns defensively more than 2 million times that year, and more than 90 percent of the time merely brandishing the weapon was sufficient to stop an attack."

I'd love know how that stat compares with the number of attacks successfully defended by would-be victims in nations like Canada or the UK, where citizens aren't allowed to defend themselves so readily.

31 posted on 04/27/2005 8:00:46 PM PDT by two134711
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To: neverdem

Great post. Thanks for the ping.


32 posted on 04/27/2005 9:21:54 PM PDT by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: EagleUSA

What has happened is the culture of victimology has invested liability. This means the prior doctrine of "proximate cause" is being streched to absurdity.

Where before the use of a stolen car in a bank robbery would not get the owner in trouble, the legal profession has extended proximate cause to be able to go after the car owners auto insurance and even home owner's insurance.

BTW does everyone realize that some states have laws which have the STATE get a chuck of punitive damage awards?


33 posted on 04/27/2005 10:31:53 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Travis McGee; Joe Brower

ping


34 posted on 04/27/2005 10:54:26 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (If you want to change government support the libertarian party www.lp.org)
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To: Abram; Annie03; Baby Bear; bassmaner; Bernard; BJClinton; BlackbirdSST; blackeagle; BroncosFan; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here.
35 posted on 04/27/2005 11:03:45 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (If you want to change government support the libertarian party www.lp.org)
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To: neverdem

bttt


36 posted on 04/27/2005 11:33:23 PM PDT by lainde
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To: MD_Willington_1976

Great quotes. Thanks for posting `em BUMP!


37 posted on 04/27/2005 11:57:22 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile (The South will rise again? Hell, we ever get states' rights firmly back in place, the CSA has risen!)
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To: neverdem

I love the editorials in IBD. It's too bad the president and republican party don't follow what they write.


38 posted on 05/01/2005 4:31:37 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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