The Flawed Thinking Behind Biden's Gun Control Bill
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file)
The Flawed Thinking Behind Biden's Gun Control Bill
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file)
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“The coming years will decide the survival of our Second Amendment,” President Trump warned before the election.

Trump was right.  

During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden promised a long list of gun control regulations. There is a reason that Michael Bloomberg spent $125 million helping Biden in Florida and something over $600 million nationally in the general election.

The agenda includes: classifying many semi-automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 bullets as Class 3 weapons (which can require nine months or more for approval and a $200 fee), national gun licensing, “red flag” laws that let judges take away people’s guns without a hearing, background checks on the private transfer of guns, and bans on some semi-automatic firearms that happen to look like military weapons.

The first gun control bill that Biden will push in his first 100 days would make gun makers and sellers civilly liable for misuse of guns they sell. That means people could sue manufacturers whenever a crime, accident, or suicide occurs with a gun. We aren’t talking about cases where there was a product liability issue or where laws are violated, such as selling a gun without a valid background check. While it isn’t stated, the goal is to put the gun makers out of business.

Can you imagine what would happen to the car or other products if similar rules were to apply? Some 4.5 million Americans are injured each year in car accidents, and 40,000 die. When accidents occurred because a driver wasn’t paying attention or was driving recklessly, it makes no sense to sue Ford for lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering.  Criminals also frequently use cars when they commit crimes. Why should car companies be liable for that? 

Computers are used to plan crimes, hack into private servers, and steal intellectual property. If Apple were held liable, it would very quickly be drowning in lawsuits. If the company even survived, its products would become much more expensive in order to cover the new legal fees. 

Guns aren’t any different. Far less than 1% of guns are ever used in crimes, suicides or accidents, and when they are, it’s virtually always the result of the user’s actions. Many other products, such as motorcycles, have much higher probabilities of causing harm. The death rate per motorcycle is 0.05%; the date rate for guns is 0.008%. The latter includes murder, accidental deaths and suicides. Guns are also used defensively about 2 million times in the average year, according to the FBI. Will government reward gun makers when their products are used to save lives? 

My own research has found that increased gun ownership is associated with less crime, not more. Poor people in the highest crime areas benefit the most from owning guns, and gun maker liability would be sure to make guns unaffordable for these individuals.

Police are important to fighting crime, but people can’t rely on them for protection. Officers virtually always arrive at the scene of a crime after the perpetrator has fled. Police know this. When a 2016 survey by the National Association of Chiefs of Police asked 15,000 chiefs and sheriffs if law-abiding citizens should be able to buy guns for self-defense, 88% answered yes. PoliceOne surveyed its 450,000 members, and 77% answered that legally armed citizens are extremely or very important to reducing crime rates.

If high-profile Democrat politicians really believe that guns produce no benefits, they ought to ask their bodyguards to disarm. These politicians would disarm poor people, and at the same time would never enter their neighborhoods without armed guards.

Gun control advocates claim that the gun makers are responsible for any harm from their weapons because they specifically cater to the criminal market with low prices, easy concealability, corrosion resistance, accurate firing, and high firepower. Lightweight, compact firearms may appeal to criminals, but they also make life easier for the 19.5 million Americans who carry concealed handguns. Women are most likely to prefer smaller, lightweight guns.

Many Democrats also try to blame gun makers for accidental deaths that they claim are “foreseeable.” Supposedly, manufacturers aren’t doing enough to make their guns child-proof.

Nationwide in 2018, 30 children under 5, and 54 under 15, died from accidental gun deaths. But with 120 million people owning 300 million guns, accidental deaths from guns are far less “foreseeable” than from many other products. Gun owners must also be very responsible, or such accidents would be much more frequent.

By contrast, nearly 100 children under 5 drown in bathtubs each year. Another 350 drown in pools. Should bathtub and pool makers be sued for the “harm” their products cause? What about bicycle makers for kids killed in accidents? Biden and Democrats want to ban guns. And if they abolish the Senate filibuster, as they keep threatening, they could do it.



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