Skip to comments.Shooting straight on guns
Posted on 10/25/2005 1:02:29 PM PDT by neverdem
If he has not done so already, President George W. Bush will soon sign a bill which passed the Senate in July and the House last week. It shields gun makers and sellers from lawsuits that might arise from misuse of their weapons, and it could produce an honest discussion of guns in America.
The new federal law does not protect gun makers from ordinary product-liability litigation. That is, if the industry still produced revolvers like one my father once owned but never used - one he described as "kill behind and maim in front" because the cylinder would not align properly with the barrel so that lead sprayed every which way when it was fired - then the maker could still be sued for making a defective product.
But if some thug acquires a firearm and commits murder and mayhem, then under the new law, the gun industry is immune to litigation from the victims. They can sue the shooter, but not the gun maker or seller, so long as they were obeying the law in the production and distribution of the weapon.
On the surface, this seems quite fair. We have a Second Amendment to the federal constitution, which guarantees the right of the people "to keep and bear arms." That right would be rather meaningless if gun and ammunition makers were put out of business by product liability lawsuits.
If people want to agitate for repeal of the Second Amendment by electing senators and representatives and state legislators who will appropriately amend the federal constitution, that's their right. But it should be done as an open political process, not in a sneaky way through product-liability litigation.
Further, we don't hold knife makers liable in stabbings, or hammer makers liable in gruesome clubbings. I've followed many libel suits, and was hit by one in 1980 (it was dismissed before trial by the district court, but the plaintiff appealed the dismissals up the ladder clear to the U.S. Supreme Court), but never have I seen the company that manufactured the typesetting machinery or printing press named among the defendants.
Every year, land-management agencies like the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management cite hundreds of drivers for taking their vehicles off the designated routes and onto fragile tundra and wetlands. But they don't go after the makers of four-wheel-drive vehicles, even though that sort of anti-social destruction is often encouraged by their commercials.
We generally assume that tools and technology are morally neutral, and that we humans are responsible for how we use them. The same tool I use for the happy task of opening envelopes with checks in them could also be used to stab someone in the heart - it's what I do with it, not the tool itself, which matters.
But this doesn't fully hold all the time, at least before the U.S. Supreme Court. In its ruling on the Grokster case last summer, the court held that a technology company can be held responsible for illegal acts committed, not by the company, but by users of the software.
At issue were computer programs which made file-sharing fast and simple. The court found that the software companies - Grokster and StreamCast Networks - encouraged the sharing of copyrighted materials, which of course had the movie and music studios up in arms and going to court to fight piracy.
But even in this case, the Supreme Court did not say that peer-to-peer file- sharing software should be illegal because it could be used to violate copyright laws. Instead, it said Grokster and StreamCast were promoting their technologies for illegal purposes, and thus the companies were liable.
With the new protections, the gun industry won't have to worry about that. It will be able to dispense with pretense in its marketing. We might actually see some truthful gun ads, perhaps one that quotes William Barclay "Bat" Masterson: "Always remember that a six-shooter is made to kill the other fellow with and for no other reason on earth."
Honesty in advertising - won't it be wonderful? And that might inspire the anti-gun crowd to go about its crusade honestly, pursuing a constitutional amendment, rather than back-door approaches through product-liability suits. And then there could be an honest discussion about guns in America.
Ed Quillen of Salida (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a former newspaper editor whose column appears Tuesday and Sunday.
This is an interesting blog from Vaughn Ververs, of C-Span fame as a political analtst, at CBS' "Public Eye," where he questions Linda Mason of 60 Minutes about whether Mike Wallace will cover gun control stories in the future. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence had a gig for Art Buchwald's birthday at the French Embassy in Washington. This also happened to be a fund raiser for the Brady Center. While there Mr. Wallace showed a clip from a 60 Minutes interview which showed then-NRA President Charlton Heston in a negative light. This happened on last Sept. 28th.
Can you imagine someone promoting a discussion about ANY OTHER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
--the anti's can't have an "honest" crusade, because there is not one iota of evidence from anywhere in the world that "guns", per se, have any connection to crime---
"Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right [are] courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like."There's no reason to think that civil liability lawsuits couldn't be used to bludgeon other rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The liberals that are bemoaning S.397 should be sending thank you notes to Congress.
I can think of a few others, principally among them dissuading the other fellow from attempting to kill you.
If the anti-gun crowd were honest, they would start their ads with, "We want to take away all the guns from all law abiding citizens because we know that a totalitarian socialist society can never be realized with an armed citizenry to oppose us."
We're not done with this yet. NRA ILA is already gearing up for the court battle on this law.
Yep, I bet pops bought that brand new.
Very true. From the NRA-ILA:
"Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S. 397) by a bipartisan vote of 283-144. The legislation now moves to President Bush's desk for his expected signature.
I want to thank you personally for your dedication and assistance in passing this legislation. This is an enormous victory for all law-abiding gun owners, and it could not have been possible without your steadfast support.
As you know, baseless lawsuits have been piled onto the back of the firearm industry since 1998. They drove up the costs of guns and ammunition, threatened to force our nation's police and military forces to source their equipment from overseas, and came chillingly close to eradicating our Second Amendment rights by forcing the nation's gun makers into bankruptcy.
These lawsuits were pushed by an unholy alliance of the gun-ban lobby, greedy trial lawyers, and anti-gun politicians. They had the national anti-gun media on their side, activist judges who guided their absurd lawsuits around the obstacles of due process, and even had the gall to use tax dollars to push these despicable lawsuits.
We had only one tool to fight back our vast base of grassroots supporters like yourself. And now, against all odds, we have achieved victory!
But this mission isn't complete yet.
S. 397 won't become law until the House and Senate formalize their passage of the bill and send it to President Bush for signature. When he does, it will be the law of the land but just the beginning of another phase of the battle.
The gun-ban groups and their cronies in the courtrooms have vowed to fight this law, in the same courtrooms that have allowed their baseless lawsuits to proceed unchecked. They will search for the right judge and hand-picked jury, and they will attempt to have this law declared unconstitutional. The Brady Campaign has already announced its intention to challenge the law commenting "Congress can pass the bill, the president can sign it, but this shameful law will not stand." If they succeed, all of our hard-fought progress will be immediately undone.
We must defend this law in every jurisdiction of the land. We must defend our gains from rollback. And we must continue our overarching mission, the defense of the Second Amendment, against new threats that have emerged."
"And then there could be an honest discussion about guns in America."
How about an honest discussion about the real value of human life and raising children who will respect it, and teaching them that morality is not measured by their next carnal impulse?
Able Danger warned of attack on USS Cole It's easier to read at the Times Herald.
A former Army intelligence officer, Erik Kleinsmith, confirmed this at the Judiciary Committee hearing, testifying he was ordered to destroy information.
During the life of the program, the operation's team members created charts linking terrorists. However, during the recent investigation, none have been found.
The Pentagon, which claimed it is restricted from retaining intelligence on United States citizens and foreign residents living in the U.S., so-called "U.S. persons," for more than 90 days.
However, Weldon has previously said most of the program's data was open source information and not classified. According to guidelines in Army Regulation 381-10, intelligence data can be kept indefinitely if it was culled from open sources.
An unnamed "Able Danger official," Weldon said, was told by a Pentagon lawyer that it's okay to extend the time intelligence information is stored.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Chris Conway, said recently that Defense Department officials worried that any public testimony given about "Able Danger" risked revealing classified information.
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Thanks for the ping!
Yep, I bet pops bought that brand new.
Could well have been, depending on the manufacturer. Recall the magnificent craftsmanship of the RG revolvers of the 1960s, with their die-cast zinc frames and barrels with a rifled steel tube inside their die-cast outer barrel? Or, as far as that goes, the horrible out-of-time cylinders of S&W N-frame handguns of the late 1970s and early '80s, after S&W went along with a union-directed "affirmitive action" hiring program and was unable to remove individuals responsible for quality control breakdowns?
In general, things are better now, in part because of numerical controlled manufacturing processes and robotized dimensional QC checks on components. But I've seen a few horrid examples that have slipped through the cracks....
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Only Smiths I ever had problems with were from that period. I try to buy 1950-1965 vintage when possible.
Could well have been, depending on the manufacturer. Recall the magnificent craftsmanship of the RG revolvers of the 1960s, with their die-cast zinc frames and barrels with a rifled steel tube inside their die-cast outer barrel?
Yes, I guess it could have been. I just know this local columnist. For all I know his dad got a "good deal" on an old revolver from a buddy that turned out to be in poor shape. But maybe I let my bias read too much into it.
Tolerably well, though AFK and fairly busy since Katrina hit.
And it's been fun playing with the Ducks.
I've seen some wartime production [WWII, that is!] that was pretty hurried and which saw some hard use under conditions of minimal maintenance. But in general, the old *5-screw* sideplate S&Ws are gems well worth hanging onto.
All the good condition 5 screw stuff I have are investments! The prices have really gone up in the past few years. Good condition "cokebottle" grips are fetching close to $400 - amazing!
I can't even tell you how disappointed I was to learn that Guilianni was the starter of those lawsuits.
True, but it does that by giving you the ability to kill him first, and he knows it. Deterrence only works if the other thinks you would really follow through.
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