Our culture has some very strange ideas about who is responsible for what. Somehow we have forgotten that as people we make decisions all of the time and that those decisions have consequences. Sometimes those decisions have horrible consequences, but when all is said and done, the consequences are the result of an individual’s decisions. A recent lawsuit against Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms, relating to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut illustrates the fact that we no longer allow individuals to be held accountable for their actions.
Hot Air posted an article about the lawsuit today.
The article reports:
The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a huge impact on the national discourse and, to some extent, the electoral battlefield, but there’s another fight dragging on as a result of it. Some of the families who lost loved ones during the attack by a deranged madman filed a lawsuit as a result. They weren’t going after the shooter’s estate or even that of his mother, but the parent company of the manufacturer who produced one of the guns used in the attack. Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms (among others) was their target, claiming that they knowingly sold a dangerous product which wound up being used against the children and teachers at the school. This week the company is pushing back, seeking the dismissal of the case on grounds that it is essentially baseless and conflicts with current law.
I love the way the article explains exactly how the current law is written:
The law in question here is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which we’ve covered a number of times in the past. It’s a piece of legislation which really never should have needed to be passed, but Congress was forced into a rare bit of productive action when relentless nuisance suits by anti-gun rights groups threatened to bankrupt smaller members of the industry. It essentially says that the manufacturer or retailer can’t be held liable for the production, distribution and sale of safely designed, properly functioning, wholly legal products simply because they are put to an illegal use by criminals or the insane. It’s no different than saying you can’t sue the manufacturer of a properly designed and operational toaster just because your angry girlfriend throws it in the bathtub with you. (The italics are mine.)
You can argue that the guns were not properly secured and got into the hands of a dangerous person, but that is not the fault of the manufacturing company. Had there been a person in the school with a gun manufactured by the same company, there would have been fewer lives lost–does that mean that the product is no longer dangerous, but a safety item?
The article concludes:
It’s easy to understand the sorrow and anger felt by the Sandy Hook families, just as it’s obvious how and why anti-Second Amendment groups would seek to use them as pawns to further their cause. None of that changes the facts on the ground, however. This was an ill considered venture to begin with and we’re in a lot of trouble as a nation if the courts manage to bend reality enough to allow them to prevail.