McClaughry: The renewed attack on firearm manufacturers

By John McClaughry

There are a lot of laws on the books regulating the purchase of firearms, but enforcing them is a hassle for prosecutors, and is rarely undertaken unless it’s part of a sensational criminal prosecution. Instead, responding to crimes committed with guns, prosecutors and politicians tend to go after the makers of those guns.

When a crazed youth drives his car into a car of teenagers on I-89, and kills five of them, he is prosecuted, but no one thinks to prosecute Ford or Chevy or whoever made his car. The car makers sold a legal product, and unless the car was somehow defective, no one thinks the auto makers are responsible for misuse of their cars.

Gun manufacturers also make a lawful product — constitutionally protected to boot — and almost never does a manufacturing defect cause an injury. But there is a continuing clamor to “do something” when guns are used in crimes, and politicians go after the gun manufacturers because they are easy to find, keep copious records, and maybe can be made to take the blame for the wrongful use of their product.

The current rage among the “do something” anti-gun crowd is repealing the 2005 Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocks manufacturer’s liability for subsequent misuse by their lawful customers. That repeal would trigger a wave of  ruinous litigation, clearly intended to shut down every gun manufacturer in America. Ask your members of Congress if they support this really disgraceful repeal.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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