A discussion area and topics of interest pertaining to 2nd Amendment issues. Below are a few of the assaults on gun owners and gun rights in general. It's difficult to understand the vilification of firearms and some of the tactics are listed below.
True Gun Control is hitting what you aim at!
AMERICAN FIREARMS INDUSTRY
Bogus lawsuits a crime against gun-owning
More people are killed by cars; more children drown or die in fires.
Every product has illegitimate uses and undesirable consequences. In 1996, in the United States, car accidents killed 43,000 people and injured another 3.4 million; 950 children under the age of 15 drowned in pools and while boating; 500 children died in bicycle accidents, and more than 1,000 children died from residential fires. No one is yet proposing that state or city governments should recoup medical costs or police salaries by suing automobile or bicycle companies, pool builders or makers of home heaters. Such suits make as little sense as pool builders suing the government to recoup the health benefits from exercise.
But suing manufacturers for any costs cities incur from gun injuries and deaths is exactly the theory behind the lawsuits by Chicago and New Orleans against gun-makers. Gun-control groups, which are helping organize the litigation, claim that as many as 60 cities will eventually sue. With so many simultaneous suits, the goal is not to win these weak cases in court but to bankrupt legitimate small companies through massive legal costs.
Obviously, bad things happen with guns. But the suits ignore that guns also prevent bad things by making it easier for victims to defend themselves. With fewer than 1 percent of all guns ever used in crimes or causing death or injury, many other products have much higher probabilities of causing harm. Unlike the tobacco suits, gun-makers have powerful arguments about the benefits of gun ownership.
More than 450,000 crimes, including 10,744 murders, are committed with guns each year. But Americans also use guns defensively about 2.5 million time a year, and 98 percent of the time merely brandishing the weapon is sufficient to stop an attack.
Police are important in reducing crime rates, but they virtually always arrive after a crime has been committed. When criminals confront people, resistance with a gun is by far the safest course of action. Guns help offset the strength differential between male criminals and female victims. The chance of serious injury from an attack are 2.5 times greater for women offering no resistance than for those resisting with guns.
My own research has found that increased gun ownership rates are associated with lower crime rates. Poor people in the highest crime areas benefit the most from owning guns. Lawsuits against gun-makers will raise the price of firearms, which will most severely reduce gun ownership among the law-abiding, much-victimized poor.
A 1996 survey by the National Association of Chiefs of Police found that 93 percent of 15,000 chiefs and sheriffs questioned thought that law-abiding citizens should be able to buy guns for self-defense. If mayors really believe that guns produce no benefits, there is one simple way they can demonstrate this: Disarm their bodyguards. It is hypocritical for mayors to demand that poor people live in high crime areas without being able to own guns, while the mayors would never enter these areas without armed guards.
Chicago claims that the gun-makers made their weapons attractive to gang members through low price, easy conceivability, corrosion resistance, accurate firing and high firepower. Lightweight, concealable guns may help criminals, but they also have helped protect law-abiding citizens and lower crime rates in the 43 states that allow concealed handguns. Women benefit most and also find it easier to use smaller, lightweight guns.
The New Orleans suit seeks to hold gun-makers liable because accidental deaths are "foreseeable" and not enough was done to make guns safe. It is particularly concerned with accidental deaths involving children and cites three cases in New Orleans since 1992. Nationally, 30 children under 5 and 200 under 15 dies from accidental gun deaths in 1996. Yet with 80 million people owning 200 million to 240 million guns, accidental deaths from guns are far less "foreseeable" than from many other products. Most gun owners must be very responsible, or such gun accidents would be much more frequent.
Allowing the court system to ignore a product's benefits to society
is bad enough. Yet even worse is the cynical attempt to file bogus lawsuits and use
taxpayers' dollars to impose massive legal costs that render it infeasible for defendants
to defend themselves.
NEW YORK (AP) - A federal jury Thursday found several gun makers responsible in three area shootings for letting guns fall into the hands of criminals. Other manufacturers were cleared.
The only damages awarded were $560,000 to the sole survivor of the shootings, who was seriously wounded.
Steven Fox, 19, and the relatives of six homicide victims sued the gun industry in federal court in 1995. The class-action lawsuit sought unspecified damages from an industry that generates sales of $2 billion to $3 billion a year.
Like some of the lawsuits brought against Big Tobacco, this one accused the gun industry of negligently marketing a legal product. The case also was closely watched by several cities trying to recover the costs of gun violence.
During the monthlong trial, they argued handgun makers oversupply gun-friendly markets, mainly in the South, aware that the excess guns flow into criminal hands via illegal markets in New York and other states with stricter anti-gun laws.
The plaintiffs' lawyers accused the 25 defendants of dumping handguns onto the black market like ''toxic waste,'' making no effort to identify and discipline dishonest distributors. In a deposition read to the jury, Robert Morris, head of Tauras International Manufacturing, conceded the company had ''never cut off anybody, cut them off for sloppy distribution practices.''
Lawyers for Tauras, Smith & Wesson, Colt's Manufacturing, Sturm, Ruger and Co., and other defendants insisted their responsibility ends once they sell to licensed distributors. They said the job of policing traffickers should be left to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which has never required gun makers to track their products to the street.
Industry attorney James Dorr told the jury it was unfair to ''hold the manufactures of a lawful, legitimately sold product responsible for acts of outlaws who are totally outside their control. ... The case is simply wrong.''
The gun makers also asserted that in most of the shootings the plaintiffs never presented evidence conclusively linking the weapons used to harm their relatives to specific defendants. The plaintiffs countered that the ''chain of title'' is irrelevant, instead accusing the entire industry of creating a widespread risk with negligent marketing - a concept known as collective liability.
''This huge pool (of handguns) is like toxic waste,'' the plaintiffs' lead attorney, Elisa Barnes, said in closing arguments.
Relatives for the victims testified, and attorneys presented statistics on weapons sales, the average age of guns used in crimes, and other aspects of the gun trade.
A key plaintiff witness, former Smith & Wesson executive Robert Hass, was too ill to appear but testified by deposition that gun makers took a see-no-evil approach to criminal use of their deadly products. And an economist testified that 90% of the handguns used in crimes in New York City in recent years came from southern states.
Testifying for the firearms industry, Chicago-based economics consultant Gustavo ''Chip'' Bamberger said plaintiffs' arguments about oversupply of guns relied on insufficient data and flawed statistics.
The verdict came despite apparent disagreement in the jury room.
In recent days, jurors had sent U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein several notes saying it was deadlocked over whether negligent marketing by the defendants was a factor in seven shootings in the New York City area in 1993-94 - a claim that was considered a test case for similar anti-gun suits filed by large cities.
One note said that 10 jurors had ''decided to work together to reach a verdict,'' but the 11th ''refused because he or she feels the verdict 'will open the floodgate of lawsuits across the country.'''
Legal experts have said that it could set a precedent for cities trying to recoup the costs of battling gun violence.
Chicago, New Orleans, Bridgeport, Conn., and Miami-Dade County are suing the industry. Pro-gun groups have responded by lobbying state legislatures to pass laws prohibiting such suits.
ęCOPYRIGHT 1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration wants to bring more cities under a program that traces guns used by young criminals in light of a report that showed at least half the guns were bought illegally from licensed dealers.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms released an analysis Sunday of its Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. The program traced guns used in 76,260 crimes in 27 cities over the past three years.
President Clinton is asking Congress in his new budget proposal for money to pay for expanding the initiative to 10 more cities across the country.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found 51% of the traced guns were purchased from licensed dealers by people acting as ''straw'' intermediaries for the real owners, and only 35% were stolen. The remainder came from private sellers not required to obtain identification or subject their customers to background checks.
In a statement, Clinton said the figures go a long way toward helping authorities find and punish those responsible for putting guns in the hands of the young.
''With more police on the streets and tougher gun laws on the books, crime has dropped to its lowest level in a generation. But we must do more,'' Clinton said. ''Tracing crime guns to their source, and putting gun traffickers out of business for good, will make our streets even safer.''
That 25% of the guns moved quickly from sale to recovery by police indicates they were bought legally, then resold, Treasury officials said. Semiautomatic pistols were the most commonly recovered weapon in each city, making up 52% of all trace requests.
As a result of the traces, 397 people have been referred to state and federal courts over the past year for prosecution as gun traffickers, the report said.
''We can't stop them from buying the guns, but as soon as they turn those guns over to felons, we can prosecute that,'' said ATF director John Magaw.
The report identified five types of semiautomatic pistols that move rapidly from dealers to young offenders: the Lorcin 9 mm, the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, the Bryco 9 mm, the Hi-Point 9 mm and the .40-caliber Glock.
It said 11.3% of the offenders involved were under 17 years old, and 32% were between 18 and 24. Thirty-one percent of the guns were used in drug offenses and 28% in assaults, 18% each in homicides and robberies.
In eight cities, investigators reported that serial numbers had been obliterated on an average of 11.4% of the guns they traced, attempts to throw off tracers.
The report was the result of Clinton's 1996 directive for the Departments of Treasury and Justice to establish a program to identify and reduce illegal firearms supplies to juveniles.
The 27 cities in the report are Atlanta; Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Bridgeport, Conn.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Gary, Ind.; Houston; Inglewood, Calif.; Jersey City, N.J.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; Richmond, Va.; Salinas, Calif.; San Antonio; St. Louis; Seattle; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington.
Clinton's budget request for fiscal 2000 includes an additional $11.2 million to expand the tracing program to 10 additional cities: Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Denver; Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; and Tampa, Fla.
Folks, the attorneys in general and the lackeys at Handgun Control
Inc.specifically, will not stop until you have no rights to own, purchase, or possess
firearms, much less the right to shoot or hunt. Pardon me if I can't
understand why they aren't suing car manufacturers or toaster makers under this same
bullshit ruse. This is what happens when the country turns out more useless
attorneys than some profession who serves a purpose, such as an engineer.