The Sandy Hook Case Moves Forward.

              On December 14, 2012 a 20-year old first murdered his mother, then shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School, quickly killing 20 young kids and 6 adults before taking his own life.  He left behind a community so devastated that the school building had to be torn down.

              Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court, that’s the court with all those pro-gun judges, declined to hear an appeal of a decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court to allow a lawsuit against the gun maker to go forward. After seven years, it appears that the parents of some of those victims will finally get their day in court.

              The gun industry will also get its day in court. And when this day dawns, the gun industry will, for the very first time, have to prove that at least one of its products isn’t too dangerous to be manufactured and sold.

              Way back in the good old days, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the gun industry made most of its products for hunting and sport. Companies like Winchester, Ithaca, Remington and Harrington & Richardson made millions of rifles and shotguns that could be found in just about every rural home. When those homes all disappeared, ditto the guns.

The gun industry, not wanting to go the way of the companies that made mixmasters or typewriters, moved quickly into new product lines based on the idea that guns make us safe and secure. The studies which claimed that guns protected their owners from crime had more holes than a slice of Dorman’s swiss cheese, but since when do we decide what to buy based on facts?

The bottom line is that the guns which started to sell more frequently beginning in the 1990’s weren’t designed for hunting or sport. They were designed to do one thing and one thing only – to kill or injure men, women and children, regardless of how or why those killings and injuries occurred.

The gun industry knew full well that pretending that a military rifle like an AR-15 was just another ‘sporting gun’ had no basis in truth. But so what? Nobody was going to sue gun manufacturers just because they came up with a clever slogan as a way to sell more guns.

At the same time the gun industry was avoiding the issue of product lethality, our friends in Gun-control Nation were doing exactly the same thing. Instead of holding gun makers accountable for the dangerousness of their products, they began promoting the idea that we can reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’ But what happens when it turns out that most of the mass shooters commit their rampages with an perfectly legal guns?

The two sides in the gun debate avoid the issue of lethality because each side feels it incumbent upon themselves to pretend reverence for the cherished 2nd Amendment.  The pro-gun side never misses an opportunity to ballyhoo (and usually mis-state) the Heller decision, even though prior to 2008 Americans were armed to the teeth without the benefit of any Constitutional protection at all. The anti-gun gang has no choice but to pretend an equally-strong belief in the 2nd-Amendment. After all, who among us would ever dare question the validity of Constitutional ‘rights,’ even if one of those ‘rights’ allows me to yank out my Glock and pop a cap on your head?

The Sandy Hook case cuts through all that nonsense and puts the issue of lethality right where it belongs; namely, whether the manufacturers of this particular commodity can pretend that this item is no more dangerous than any other product bought at the corner store.

The courts have long held that government has a ‘compelling interest’ to protect the community from harm. If someone knows anything more harmful than some jacked-up kid wandering around with an assault rifle and a bunch of 30-shot mags, I’d like to know what it is.  

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12 thoughts on “The Sandy Hook Case Moves Forward.

  1. According to the NY Times, which has a slightly longer version of the story “…The Sandy Hook families’ suit used one of six narrow exemptions to the 2005 law to argue that Remington violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. The suit said the gun maker recklessly marketed the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to disturbed young men like the Sandy Hook gunman through product placement in violent video games and advertising pitches like “consider your man card reissued,” and “the opposition will bow down.” Yes, I know that Adam Lanza didn’t buy the gun, which may be important at trial. Adam Lanza killed his mom and stole her gun.

    I’ve long thought that the way Remington/Bushmaster marketed this gun was stupid and reckless: a bomb waiting to go off. These are serious firearms originally designed for military purposes. Of course, so was the M1 Garand, which no one is attacking. Heck, even Mike’s Ruger Mini-14 is a military design. Go look it up. But it would have been reasonable to make sure, as Mike said, that these were not available to disturbed young men. Perhaps restrict them to disturbed not so young men who have a firearms permit issued by their state.I’m being sarcastic of course but have previously opined that a graduated licensing system would have been preferable to a free for all and likely constitutional. Yes, I know that Adam Lanza killed his mom and stole her gun.

    When one markets something in a way that seems to encourage its misuse, one should share in paying the consequences. Now, gee, why hasn’t someone gone after the car companies for their “professional driver, closed course, don’t try this at home” advertisements which have been endemic and not a whole lot different than a “man card” pitch, as any young American male knows. As someone who was working on traffic safety and bicycling advocacy before I got on the gun bandwagon, I’ve long wondered why car companies can market cars in a way that promotes dangerous public behavior. After all, we kill about 40,000 people a year with cars as well as guns and many of those deaths are caused by deliberate misuse.

    The bottom line is we do things besides own military style guns that are potentially dangerous to the public when misused. Where do we draw the line between corporate and individual responsibility? I think that will be a question for the court in this case as it goes to trial.

  2. SEMI-AUTOMATIC Firearms with Detachable magazines have been available to the general public for MORE THAN 100 years….

    But yeah, I’m sure….”them ‘Sportin’ Rifles’ people owned back then were only invented to kill Animals”.

    It wasn’t until the invention of the Evil “ASSAULT RIFLE #15” that anyone figured out that guns can ALSO poke holes in People too…

    ….And we DEFINITELY NEVER had “Mass shootings” before these Damn Firearm Manufacturers started making Violent Video games and advertising that THEIR BRAND of SEMI-AUTOMATIC Firearms were “The BEST you can get for Murdering your Mother and a school full of little kids”.

  3. Lots of issues here, but as I try to say whenever I get the chance “It’s the guns stupid, it’s the guns. Especially with an inexhaustible supply of disaffected individuals walking around below the radar

    • My generation grew up with Video games, and Everyone Gun owner I know (here in Sunny California) has at least 1 Ar-15, and not one of these people has Mass Murdered anything…but as I try to tell Anti gun morons who think that AR-15’s are “Weapons of War” and somehow more dangerous that my “old timey” 14 Shot Lever action…

      “It’s the Stupid, Stupid…Not the Guns”.

      • Robert, it is the guns. There’s a big difference in lethality between a lever gun with a tube magazine and a semi-auto with a detachable stick magazine. Plus the architecture of the assault-style weapon is designed to lend itself to much better maneuverability than traditional rifle architecture.

  4. Fellow contributor to this site Tom Gabor and I disagree on a fair number of points (not necessarily fundamental, fist swinging disagreements, but disagreements on policies), but one thing he and I both worry about is whether the trigger pulls the finger with some of these weapons. If the AR-15 is not more dangerous than a Winchester 1894 lever action, why do we see so few Winchesters compared to ARs used in high profile crimes? The Winchester is a long way from being a battlefield rifle (for that matter, so is my Model 70, which ain’t much different than a WW I Mauser) whereas the AR telegraphs military pedigree to the public right out of the box. Plus, its easier to hose down a battlefield or a dance party with an AR since 20-30 rd magazines can be popped in and out easily. Its a little slower pushing those 30/30 rds into an 1894 or Savage Arms 99.

    So saying it ain’t more dangerous is a little disingenuous. Heck, if it were not more effective, why are our troops not equipped with Garands or lever action carbines? I do think the SCOTUS needs to come down sooner or later on where to draw the line on what is regulated more strictly vs not a concern enough to worry about. We almost never hear about those half a million, really lethal full auto weapons used in crime. They are sufficiently abundant, but held by responsible people who jump through hoops to get them.

    The chances of someone like Mike or Yours Truly going bonkers with any of our firearms is pretty remote. In my case, you can check with my uncle, Sam, for a character reference. We need some metric that is politically palatable to make this work in general and my concern is that as long as we are fighting the Battle of Extreme Positions, we are screwed. This case might be an earth shaker if Remington gets sued out of its jock strap. To me, that goes too far if it affects the entire industry but frankly, Remington may have deserved it.

  5. “So saying it ain’t more dangerous is a little disingenuous. Heck, if it were not more effective, why are our troops not equipped with Garands or lever action carbines?”

    Ask a Native American or an Old Kraut…I’m pretty sure that they would agree that Both the Lever action carbine and Garand are pretty Damn effective at killing large numbers of people, and Both have ACTUALLY been equipped to our Soldiers as “Weapons of War”…The AR-15 has not.

    ….Seems like Uncle Sam could save a few bucks and purchase Smith and Wesson M&P’s for the Military instead of the ones with the Auto “Giggle switch”.

    • So you want to compare rifles in use 100 years ago to those in use today as if we should go back to 100 yr old designs? Arms evolve as better ones come on line. For example:

      “…The Springfield Model 1892–99 Krag–Jørgensen rifle is a Norwegian-designed bolt-action rifle that was adopted in 1892 as the standard United States Army military longarm, chambered in U.S. caliber .30-40 Krag. All versions and variants were manufactured under license by the Springfield Armory between 1892 and 1903 and famously served as the longarm during the Spanish–American War. Although Krags were popular, unique and efficient, the side loading gate mechanism was slow and cumbersome to reload in combat compared to the clip loaded Spanish Mausers the Krag was up against. Thus, the U.S. Krag was replaced beginning in 1903 with the introduction of the M1903 Springfield rifle, which was essentially a copy of a Mauser,”

      from Wikipedia.

      • “So you want to compare rifles in use 100 years ago to those in use today as if we should go back to 100 yr old designs?”

        O.K. let’s Compare…..

        Thompson Sub machineguns and Browning Automatic Rifles (Both OVER 100 YEAR OLD designs)

        Vs.

        AR-15’s and AK Clones…..

        Which are More “Dangerous”?

        I’m not one of the the people arguing that we should only be allowed to own “Sporting” designs like Lever or Pump actions because “Semi-autos are too Dangerous for common folk to own”.

        All Firearms are Dangerous in the hands of the Deranged or those with Criminal intent.

        If Every Semi-automatic rifle with a Detachable magazine somehow “Dissapeared” tomorrow, and Lever Actions and Pumps became Popular again…..Do you REALLY think that it would Stop someone who wants to kill a large number of unarmed victims?

        “This Cowboy gun ain’t Tactical looking enough….Guess I wont murder those kids after all.”

        Would the Anti-Gun guys be suddenly O.K. with Regular People owning them and NOT try to have them Banned too? Nope. They would say “Nobody needs a “Large Caliber” Levergun/Pump action that can “Fire as fast as you can flick your wrist”….

        Don’t believe me? Google Australia and the latest Ban on “Fast Action” Leverguns.

  6. Question of the Day:

    Which is More “Dangerous”….

    A SEMI-AUTOMATIC Garand in 30-06 or a Pump Action Shotgun loaded with Buckshot?

    …Semi-automatic .380 or a .357 Magnum Revolver

    …Rambo knife or Box cutter?

    ….Pure Cane Sugar or that crap in the Pink package?

    • …(Continued)

      When indiscriminately shooting at hundreds of tightly packed people grouped together at a Concert from the comfort of a Hotel Room, which is More “DANGEROUS”…..

      An AR-15 in .223 outfitted with a “Bumpstock”

      (DESIGNED 52 YEARS AGO, Rate of fire: 200-300 Rounds per minute at best)…

      or

      …A GATLING GUN in 45-70

      (DESIGNED 160 YEARS AGO, Rate of fire: 400-900 Rounds per minute)?

      • Khal is spot on. We need to wrest the issue away from the extremists on both sides and enact a graduated regulation system.

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