Saturday, March 05, 2016

 

Paraphrasing From Hell

The New York Times continues its sad devotion to blaming the tool, guns, in this rather slimy editorial today. Here's some background.

The Congress passed a law in 2005 stopping lawsuits against gun manufacturers, suppliers and dealers, etc. for criminal use of the guns they make or sell. The prohibition of such suits is very short and to the point. The statute's details are nearly all in the definition section which is here. The Sandy Hook parents are ignoring the law and suing the manufacturer, supplier and dealer for the criminal use of a semi-automatic rifle at the elementary school years ago. It will be a legal travesty if the suit is not dismissed soon. Here are the truly objectionable parts of the NYT piece.

The weapon was a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle adapted from its original role as a battlefield weapon. The AR-15, which is designed to inflict maximum casualties with rapid bursts, should never have been available for purchase by civilians.
What rapid bursts? The NYT zealots have apparently never been able to wrap their somewhat pointy heads around the conceptual difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic. There are no bursts from semi-automatic weapons. One trigger pull produces one round fired with semi-auto and no more. Full auto means you pull the trigger and the gun fires until it's empty or you're not pulling the trigger anymore, which ever comes first. There are 'three-shot-burst' settings on some weapons we call fully auto; but that's a limitation designed to save ammunition while still having multiple rounds going down range, that is, having some firepower. That's the full auto side. Also, the AR-15 in semi-auto came first from its inventor Mr. Stoner and others, then was adapted to the full auto M-16 and its 4 versions and then the M-4 version and its versions. The Times has it backwards. The AR-15 is not designed to inflict maximum casualties. The M-16 and M-4 are designed to do that.

Almost all handguns not revolvers today are semi-auto. Many rifles are semi-auto and fire as rapidly from the same type of removable box magazine as the AR-15. They are as lethal as the AR-15 but the Times writers never mention them. The AR-15 looks mean, looks military. The others, such as the Mini 14 from Sturm, Ruger, look like wood and steel hunting rifles. Saying that the AR-15 should never be sold to civilians is saying 80% of modern guns shouldn't be sold to civilians. Sorry, that idea is clearly unconstitutional. OK, on with the article.

The Sandy Hook parents argue that their suit should continue because that law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, allows claims against companies — gun shop dealers, for example — if they knew or should have known that the weapons they sold were likely to risk injury to others. The parents contend that the maker of the Bushmaster is no less culpable because it knowingly marketed a risky war weapon to civilians.


Well, the Sandy Hook parents are wrong. The AR-15 is not a risky war weapon. But the exception to the ban on lawsuits they are looking for, the so-called "knew or should have known that the weapons they sold were likely to risk injury to others" is as phony as their description of the AR-15. Here's what the law actually says.

You can't bring "a civil action or proceeding or an administrative proceeding...against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, [a gun], or a trade association, for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, or penalties, or other relief, resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a [gun] by the person or a third party..." (Emphasis added).

There are a few exceptions but none of them apply to the tragic shooting at the elementary school. Here are the exceptions:

(i) an action brought against a transferor convicted under section 924(h) of title 18, or a comparable or identical State felony law, by a party directly harmed by the conduct of which the transferee is so convicted;
(ii) an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;
(iii) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought, including
(I) any case in which the manufacturer or seller knowingly made any false entry in, or failed to make appropriate entry in, any record required to be kept under Federal or State law with respect to the qualified product, or aided, abetted, or conspired with any person in making any false or fictitious oral or written statement with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of a qualified product; or
(II) any case in which the manufacturer or seller aided, abetted, or conspired with any other person to sell or otherwise dispose of a qualified product, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that the actual buyer of the qualified product was prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm or ammunition under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18
(iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product;
(v) an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or
(vi) an action or proceeding commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the provisions of chapter 44 of title 18 or chapter 53 of title 26.

I've looked and looked through that part of the statute and I just can't find the " if they knew or should have known that the weapons they sold were likely to risk injury to others" exception. That's mainly because it isn't there. All guns have the ability to cause injury to others. That's an essential purpose. We all know that. You really have to marvel at the stupidity of this piece and the lawsuit it talks about. Then, there's this.

Beyond seeking damages, the Sandy Hook parents aim to force the AR-15 off the market. “The AR-15 is the weapon of choice for shooters looking to inflict maximum casualties, and American schools are on the forefront of such violence,”

This is utter rubbish. Well less than 3% of murderers using guns involve rifles, and that's all rifles including the bolt action ones. Hand guns are the main weapon used by murderers, including mass murderers.

The grieving but litigious parents would have served themselves better had they sued the shooter's estate, instead. He's the only one responsible for the criminal use of the guns used at the school.

The reason the '05 law is such a good idea (despite the NYT calling it foolish and shameful) is that no manufacturer is liable for the criminal misuse of the product. You can't sue Sears if someone uses a Craftsman framing hammer to murder someone else. You can't sue Ford if someone murders another person by running them over with a Mustang. Congress realized that nuisance suits would be used by anti-gun zealots to do what the Constitution (and amendments thereto) prohibits, namely, ban ownership of guns because all the makers and sellers would be bankrupt. And the best proof of the wisdom of Congress in 2005 is this nuisance suit now pending in Connecticut.


UPDATE: Matt Vespa, at Townhall, gets to this party a little late here. He and I agree the editorial is worthless and shame-worthy.

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Hey Roger.......
Nick Keller here......I'm coming to Denver for Springsteen....would love to meet for coffee or something.....write me back at nkeller@wolfenet.com. Hope all is well.
 
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