The Renewed Attack on Firearm Manufacturers

October 3, 2019

by John McClaughry

There are a lot of laws on the books regulating the purchase of firearms, but enforcing them is a hassle for prosecutors, and is rarely undertaken unless it’s part of a sensational criminal prosecution. Instead, responding to crimes committed with guns, prosecutors and politicians tend to go after the makers of those guns.

When a crazed youth drives his car into a car of teenagers on I 89, and kills five of them, he is prosecuted, but no one thinks to prosecute Ford or Chevy or whoever made his car. The car makers sold a legal product, and unless the car was somehow defective, no one thinks the auto makers are responsible for misuse of their cars.

Gun manufacturers also make a lawful product –constitutionally protected to boot – and almost never does a manufacturing defect cause an injury. But there is a continuing clamor to “do something” when guns are used in crimes, and politicians go after the gun manufacturers because they are easy to find, keep copious records, and maybe can be made to take the blame for the wrongful use of their product.

The current rage among the “do something” anti-gun crowd is repealing the 2005 Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocks manufacturer’s liability for subsequent misuse by their lawful customers. That repeal would trigger a wave of  ruinous litigation, clearly intended to shut down every gun manufacturer in America. Ask your members of Congress if they support this really disgraceful repeal.

— John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ted Robinson October 4, 2019 at 11:06 pm

No 2A, no 1A, and you are the subject of the state.


Patrick Finnie October 4, 2019 at 11:45 pm

I love the analogy of guns vs. vehicles, very appropriate. A few years ago a woman of questionable mental stability attempted to take her vehicle on a joy ride down the boardwalk on Venice Beach in California, and as I remember people were killed. No screams to ban Assault Chevys’. When that wacko drove a truck through a crowd in Nice France and killed 80+ people, Frenchmen were not screaming “sue Mercedes !” How many people were killed by the terrorist driving through a crowds in New York, and London ? I probably should not even go there or the “New Green Deal” people will use it to get us all on electric scooters !


William Hays October 5, 2019 at 2:00 am

Well, an electric scooter might have been cool to have, here in Montana, last weekend (48″ snowfall in Babb, MT, 42″ in Browning, etc.) for going to town (no helmet required) to pick up some meth. Only got down to +7 F. in Shelby. Damned ‘global warming’!


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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