10/05 Stopping Predatory Lawsuits

Stopping Predatory Lawsuits
Larry Pratt

S.397 will hopefully provide the relief from predatory lawsuits that is long overdue.

The same protection should be extended to all products, but firearms are the only ones singled out at the moment by lawsuits intended to bankrupt an entire industry. At least two companies have already gone under, even though one of them, Navegar, prevailed in the California Supreme Court — after it was already out of business.

Some of the lawsuits have complained, unsuccessfully so far, that advertising has targeted criminals. Other suits involve guns that were stolen but the plaintiff wants to hammer the owner, retail store and manufacturer alike. Happily, those suits also have yet to be successful.

One of the frequent complaints about gun companies and dealers is “they just want to push as many guns out the door as possible.” Imagine that. A business that wants to make money!

All of these cases are predicated on the vague notion that guns cause crime and the criminals are not responsible for their actions. With this logic, since criminals are not to be held accountable, someone else should pay for crime — namely, those who made and sold or even owned the stolen gun. Ultimately, this is what the backers of these frivolous lawsuits are trying to achieve — the crippling of the gun industry.

Opponents of gun ownership have been unsuccessful in pursuing their political agenda in the U.S. Congress and most state legislatures. Lawsuits have provided a lucrative alternative to legislative failure. The cost of legal defense and higher insurance premiums might well do to the gun industry what opponents of the right to keep and bear arms have failed to do politically. As stated by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, “We’re going to hit [gun makers] right where it hurts — in their bank accounts.”

Gun Owners of America was very disappointed that the Congress was willing to pass this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming support, with a nasty little piece of gun control tucked inside. S. 397 contained a provision that will require retail gun sales to include a gun lock of some kind with every handgun. The effect of this provision is to encourage handgun owners to lock up their safety.

The main beneficiary of gun locks is the criminal element. They will be happy to find victims who have foolishly locked up their gun. Even if one can find the key or remember the combination, one’s dexterity is drastically curtailed under stress. Of course, the criminal will be under no such limitation.

To prevent guns from being stolen, safes should be used. Otherwise, a gun intended for self-defense should not be encumbered by some device that only locks up one’s safety.