I’ve seen increasing talk about the “benefits” of making gun manufacturers liable for criminals that misuse their guns, and thought it would be a good topic for an article
Blaming the gun manufacturers wrongfully shifts the blame
My thoughts on the matter are rather straight forward: It is wrong to try and hold gun manufacturers liable for the intentional actions of criminals. Instead, these criminals are the people, and the only people, who should be held liable for their actions. We don’t blame a car manufacturer when a criminal goes on a high speed chase. We don’t blame an airplane manufacturers when terrorists use their aircraft to commit horrendous acts of mass murder. Nor should we blame gun manufacturers. In each situation, a manufacturer produces a product that has legitimate purposes, such as driving to work, flying to Hawaii, and self defense. Just as cars and nailguns can be misused by criminals, so can firearms, but that is not the fault of the gun manufacturers.
A response to the “but unlike cars or airplanes, guns are designed to kill people” argument
Some people who concede the point that any tool can be misused by criminals will still assert that gun manufacturers should still be liable, arguing that “guns are designed to kill people.” First I’ll address the statement that “guns are designed to kill people,” by saying that it is entirely true for some guns. Many guns are designed for hunting, target practice, trap shooting, etc. Others guns, however, are indeed designed to kill people – in self defense should the need arise. As the Supreme Court stated in D.C. v. Heller, the Second Amendment protects the rights of law abiding American citizens to have a gun suitable for self defense. Given that right to have a gun for self defense, it would be rather inconsistent to tell citizens that they can have a gun suitable for self defense, and then turn around to tell the manufacturers that they are liable for making such guns. Such self defense tools are not “assault weapons” “junk guns” or “just tools of criminals,” but are instead the type of firearm most suited to allowing a law abiding citizen to defend themselves against a criminal.
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