Unexamined Premises

What Is It About 'Progressives' and Guns?


Like it or not, it’s in the Constitution

Besides sheer ignorance, that is. John Hinderaker at Power Line does a number on Adam Gopnik’s latest anti-gun musings in The New Yorker:

No one expects sensible commentary on firearms from the New Yorker, but this gun control rant is worth noting because it is so typical of modern liberalism. Facts? Who needs facts? Bullying is all that the left aspires to.

There follows a point-by-point takedown of Gopnik’s piece about the need for “gun control” in the wake of the Newtown shootings, pegged to the recent filing of a lawsuit against Bushmaster, the maker of the AR-15 rifle that seems to have been criminally used in the murders of the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook. (There is some dispute about this.) Here’s Gopnik:

 The news that the parents of the children massacred two years ago in Sandy Hook, near Newtown, Connecticut, by a young man with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, were undertaking a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer was at once encouraging and terribly discouraging. The encouraging part is that those parents, suffering from a grief that those of us who are only witnesses to it can barely begin to comprehend, haven’t, despite the failure to reinstate assault-weapons bans and stop the next massacre, given way to despair…

The lawsuit is discouraging because the death-by-gun lobby has successfully advocated for legislative prophylactics that prevent gunmakers, almost uniquely among American manufacturers, from ever being held responsible for the deaths that their products cause. If a carmaker made a car that was known to be wildly unsafe, and then advertised it as unsafe, liabilities would result. The gun lobby is, or believes itself to be, immune. Some experts have outlined legal principles that might let sanity triumph, but it is hard to think it will.

The lawsuit has no chance, of course, as we’ll explore after the page break.

So is this

More from John Hinderaker at Power Line:

This is a backhanded way of admitting that the lawsuit will fail because it is barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7901 et seq.. (It would have no merit under standard tort law in any event, but liberals had threatened to drive gun companies out of business with endless frivolous lawsuits, and the law is designed to prevent that.) The reference to “right-wing judges” who create “legal precedents that no one ever before imagined possible” is gratuitous and wholly unsupported.

The Act, passed in 2005, is designed:

To prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.

That would seem to cover it, but the Left never stops, never sleeps, never quits. John concludes:

The factual propositions asserted by the New Yorker are not “inarguable.” On the contrary, they are argued all the time. But to participate in the argument, you have to know some facts. And note that, despite the final reference to “legislation,” no such proposed legislation has been articulated. From context, I think we can infer that the author wants to ban semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. But that, in essence, was the ill-fated “assault weapon” ban of the 1990s. All observers agree that the previous “assault weapon” ban had zero effect on homicide or crime rates. But that’s contemporary liberalism–all bullying, no argument. The thing you always need to keep in mind is: liberals are not as smart as you are.

Over at NRO, Charlie Cooke has some related thoughts:

In the essay depicted above, Gopnik considers what he pretentiously terms “The Moral Work of Gun Control.” The result is one part The-Science-is-Settled desperation, one part smug social-positioning, and one part literary catharsis — all washed down with a healthy dose of basic ignorance.

Ban it! Outlaw it! Forbid it! That is the fascist Left’s solution to everything it doesn’t like.

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