Underhanded, Dishonest Attempt To Drive Gun Manufacturers Out Of Business, Part 1

Jeffrey Fagan, Columbia University and Stephen D. Sugarman, UC Berkeley have a plan. A Plan. A PLAN!  They want to “Make firearms manufacturers figure out how to reduce the 12,000 shooting deaths each year.”

This year, about 12,000 Americans will be shot to death. It’s a staggering figure, and even though lawmakers have continued to pass gun-control laws to try to bring the number down, they have not significantly reduced the murder rate. Indeed, for the last decade, guns have steadily remained the cause of about two-thirds of all homicides.

Guns don’t cause homicides. How many times does it have to be stated that guns are tools? Simple machines, really. It’s been said so much to so many people who have their hands over their ears singing “lalalala I can’t hear you” that it’s become trite. That doesn’t make the statement false. I’m as tired of saying it as “gun-controllers” are of not hearing it.

Oh, I wonder why all those gun-control laws “have not significantly reduced the murder rate?” Could it be, as I wrote above, that guns don’t cause homicides?  

Gun manufacturers insist that these deaths are not their fault, preferring to pin the blame on criminals and irresponsible dealers. They have fiercely resisted even minimal restrictions on sales and have simultaneously washed their hands of responsibility for this “collateral damage.”

Unless a gun manufacturer pulled the trigger, then they are not at fault. How unspeakably sad and irresponsible it is that they prefer to blame crime on criminals instead of the tools the criminals use! And aren’t irresponsible dealers criminals by definition? Aren’t they already charged with doing background checks, etc… ie, acting responsibly?

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court made the problem a little more difficult to solve, ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller that the individual’s right to bear arms is indeed protected by the 2nd Amendment — and making it clear that some laws banning guns would have a difficult time passing constitutional muster in the future.

Actually, the Court’s ruling should make it easier for reasonable legislation to be effective. There will less effort expended on making and trying to enforce unreasonable junk laws designed primarily to make someone feel good.

What is to be done? The conventional regulatory approaches seem to be failing.

No shit Sherlock. Got any more shocking news for me? Regulations imposed on lawful businesses and lawabiding citizens have little effect on criminals and their enterprises.

 A more recent strategy, in which victims or municipalities bring lawsuits against gun manufacturers or retailers, seems legally and politically unpromising since the 2005 passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.

“… seems legally and politically unpromising?” Yes, I’m laughing. To be totally fair, I have to consider whether this entire article was written as a parody. Unfortunately, it fails equally whether a parody or presented seriously.

We propose a new way to prod gun makers to reduce gun deaths, one that would be unlikely to put them out of business or to prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns. By using a strategy known as “performance-based regulation,” we would deputize private actors — the gun makers — to deal with the negative effects of their products in ways that promote the public good.

How about we deputize lawmakers to deal with the negative effects of their legislation in such ways? Lemme see, where was it I recently read that the regulations and bans they came up with are not doing the public any good?

Let’s define “public good” while we’re at it. To me, it’s a public good to have individual free choice. Or, for argument’s sake, let’s call it free will. Both the criminal class and the law-abiding class have a choice of tools and actions taken with that tool. Is the public good served by limiting the choices of the good people while having limited (if any) effect on criminals?

Would not the public good be better served if the law-abiding are better armed than the criminals and the criminals knew this? What public good is served by announcing to the criminal that in certain places nobody will be armed to prevent them from doing their crime?

In other words, rather than telling gun makers what to do, performance-based regulation would tell them what outcome they must achieve: Reduce deaths by guns. Companies that achieve the target outcomes might receive large financial bonuses; companies that don’t would face severe financial penalties. Put simply, gun makers — whose products kill even when used as directed — would have to take responsibility for curbing the consequent public health toll.

In the first place, this kind outcome based requirement would result in certain guns presumed to be preferred by criminals or affordable by criminals, being considered bad, morally wrong in some way. Criminals aren’t necessarily stupid, they choose a tool based on the same considerations non-criminals do. Does it perform well? Is upkeep minimal? Can I afford it? Is it too large or too small for my hands? Many other factors come into play also, I’m sure.

And, second, what industry will be next? Automobiles? Liquor manufacturers? Bars? Swimming pool builders? Knifemakers?

I’m tired now. Reading and thinking about this level of insane gobbledygook is tiring. Part 2 tomorrow!

UPDATE: While allowing my self-imposed 10 minute break before proofing my work, I see that Instapundit has linked to Kevin D.’s take (over at Dean Esmay’s place) on the same article.

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