Gun Control

Hillary v. Bernie on Gun Manufacturer Liability: Common Sense is Treason in the Gun Control Empire of Lies

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At the Democratic debate tonight, Hillary Clinton once again tried to smear Sen. Bernie Sanders for his alleged sinister fealty to arms manufacturers and sellers. 

Michael Vadon via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Why? Because in 2005 he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA. (He has also more recently vowed to co-sponsor a bill to reverse it.)

Clinton tried to lay the grief of the parents of the murdered at Sandy Hook on Sanders back, explaining that "when asked whether he would support the Sandy Hook parents suing to try to do something to rein in the advertising of the AR-15, which is advertised to young people as being a combat weapon, killing on the battlefield. He said they didn't deserve their day in court."

Hillary brought it up while scrambling to respond to a question about her misleadingly blaming Vermont lax gun laws for New York crime. Jacob Sullum explained in detail how Hillary's attempting to lay any special blame for New York gun crime on Vermont and by extension Sanders is nonsense, nonsense that Clinton herself pretty much backed down by avoiding the question without just saying "Yeah I was totes misleading on that." Apparently about 1.2 percent of out-of-state guns used in crime in New York can be traced back to loose-gun-law Vermont.

Sanders has, to his credit, in the past maintained a common sense approach not clouded by a "whatever club we can use to bash gun manufacturers" emotional attitude that Clinton loves to push to a Democratic audience that loves to hear it. As for his comment tonight that "when gun shop owners and others knowingly are selling weapons to people who should not have them" that should be illegal, well, it already is.

Sanders concluded that he did not owe an apology to the Sandy Hook parents because "They are in court today, and actually they won a preliminary decision today. They have the right to sue, and I support them and anyone else who wants the right to sue."

A shame he seems beaten down from his earlier, correct position, which he held to through the end of last year.

I reported on Sanders sticking to his guns on this to Rolling Stone a few months ago, when Sanders said:

We have a lot of gun stores in Vermont, small shops. If Mr. Smith, the gun-shop owner, sells you a gun legally, you have your instant background check, you get the gun. Then you flip out and you shoot your wife. It happens. Should the gun-shop owner be held liable for selling you the product?…. I don't think he should. I honestly don't think it should any more than if you picked up that table and banged me over the head and killed me. Would you hold that person [who sold the table] liable? We know what guns do. Guns have the capability of killing people. But I do not believe that somebody who lawfully sells a gun to somebody else should be held responsible if somebody uses that product wrongfully….

Clinton and her cheering anti-gun fans are of course being absurdly misleading about what the law in question actually does, which gun scholar Adam Winkler explains in an NPR Fact Check:

 "The 2005 law does not prevent gun makers from being held liable for defects in their design. Like car makers, gun makers can be sued for selling a defective product. The problem is that gun violence victims often want to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of a properly functioning product."

In other words: If you aim and fire a gun at an attacker, it's doing what it was intended to do. If it explodes while you shoot and hurts you, though, then you can sue the manufacturer. Likewise, if you had told the gun-store owner you planned to commit a crime with that gun, your victim could potentially sue.

Basically, Clinton is mad at Bernie, and trying to make others mad at Bernie, for in the past standing behind a legal principle that people who are not in fact responsible for a tortious or criminal act should not be legally punished for other people's tortious or criminal acts. And that this principle should apply even if you really don't like those people who you want to blame for things they didn't do. Good for Bernie for his sense on the matter then, shame on him for backing down more recently.

NEXT: Democratic Debate Live Tweet

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  1. Anybody but Clinton!

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  2. If that bitch wins stick a fork in America, cause it’s done for.

    1. Best real-world outcome: she wins, Republicans retain both houses, everything is tied up in investigations and trials. Perfect gridlock.

      1. Except, oops, she gets to put a shithead on the SCOTUS, and eventually the republican senate will let somebody through, and decisions like Heller and Citizens United become very unstable.

        1. The three oldest members of the Court are 77, 79, and 83 years old, so the next president could potentially nominate four justices, or more.

    2. Do you have a licensed for your multi pronged assault fork with a combat grip?

      1. No civilian fork needs 4 tines!!

      2. 3 Tines is a fork. 4 tines, now it is an “Assault Fork”. Unless I stick the 3 tined one in your neck, then I guess it becomes an “Assault Fork”. Since they don’t know what they are talking about (at any given time), shouldn’t we just begin the process to remove all the politicians from office and turn them into fertilizer? Seems to be the best use of them.

  3. Because in 2005 he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA. (He has also more recently vowed to co-sponsor a bill to reverse it.)

    Libertarian Moment!

  4. Jeep often touts the off-road capabilities of their vehicles, and uses settings like beach parties to appeal to younger buyers, so if someone uses a Jeep to travel off-road in an attempt to evade law enforcement, we can hold Jeep liable for any crimes committed between the moment the Jeep left the road and the suspects were caught, if at all.

    1. Jeeps aren’t designed to kill people, totally different.

      1. Yet they are no less effective at the task…

      2. Not totally different.

        Guns aren’t actually designed to kill people. They are designed to squirt a lump out of a tube. It’s up to the user to point the tube, just as it is up to the user to point the Jeep. Either way, point the product in the wrong direction and someone dies.

      3. Do you even realize how inane that sounds? The whole point of the article is that guns are designed to kill people, and since guns are legal suing the manufacture is nonsense.

        The whole point is that you sue for wrongdoing not because you think a product is bad. The gun maker, or a car manufacturer, shouldn’t be held liable because the end user inappropriately uses the product.

        A better analogy would be holding Jeep liable because a drunk driver hits someone with a Jeep and kills them. Since vehicle deaths are way up there statistically banning automobiles would have more impact on death rate then banning guns.

      4. My guns are designed to kill paper and steel targets, until society breaks down, at which time they are designed to kill animals for sustenance and agents of the gov’t or looters that seek to harm us. That’s a perfectly legitimate, legal, just, and righteous design.

        1. I nicked a census man once…. “There’s a good boy.”

  5. The thought that one of these two might be able to make 3 or more nominations to the Supreme Court is almost enough to make me want to vote for Trump.

    They’re that scary.

    1. This.

    2. Sure, because Trump will definitely not nominate any big government, FYTW, people to the SCOTUS.

      1. With Trump there is a chance he might make a reasonable pick. With a Donkey, zero chance.

        1. That’s the GOP motto: “Vote for us, we might not screw you!”

          Not saying you’re wrong, just saying it’s not exactly inspirational.

    3. The wall looks better and better with each passing day.

      1. There’s a lot not to like about Cruz, but I do appreciate his touting his belief in Liberty as part of his core platform.

        Given they all suck, I’ll take the only one who at least says he believes in freedom and the constitution rather than ‘fairness’ and redistribution.

        1. If the race is Clinton vs Cruz, then voting for Cruz seems a no-brainer. Of course, I’m only a neophyte level libertarian; I’m sure the third level wizard libertarians will be along to disabuse me off my notions, and insist that A. Your vote doesn’t mean shit, and, simultaneously, B. Your vote is sacred, so vote purely on principle: i.e. waste your vote on Johnson instead of doing what you can to prevent the socialists from appointing the next three SCOTUS judges, enshrining Obamacare as a done deal, and letting the police unions keep their kleptocracy.

          1. I’ve talked so much shit about Hillary the last few months that it’s convinced by liberaltarian wife to vote for “none of the above” if she’s the nominee. I’ll consider that a small victory.

          2. I’ve talked so much shit about Hillary the last few months that it’s convinced by liberaltarian wife to vote for “none of the above” if she’s the nominee. I’ll consider that a small victory.

            1. The squirrels also have their small victories.

    4. What part of Trump’s history or demeanor tells you he would nominate anyone better? Hell, given his close history with the Clintons (and his liberalism), he could very well nominate Hillary to the court.

  6. for in the past standing behind a legal principle that people who are not in fact responsible for a tortious or criminal act should not be legally punished for other people’s tortious or criminal acts.

    Considering Sanders supporters are screaming, “Check your privilege!”, I’m not so sure Sanders did that by standing on principle.

    1. Little known factoid:

      “Check your privilege!” comes from the old saying “Check Your Privy Ledge!” from the days before indoor plumbing. It was a reminder to guests not to shit on the edge of the seat when they are spewing shit.

      1. So it’s still relevant at a Bernie rally.

  7. Night owl derp: Saudi cleric explains why earth does not rotate:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9Jp_XCvVto

  8. I would’t worry about “The hillary”, she’s an old timey DC money grubber… any bullshit she claims to get elected can always be rolled back by lobbyists after the win… My prediction should she win (shudder) is just 4 more years of the same shit.
    Ol’ commie sanders on the other hand… not so sure, I’d suggest to him if he win’s he should stay away from convertibles and Dealy Plaza, No woodchipper!

    Truly I hope for an election between donnie and the bern… just for the lulz, Because as far as I’m concerned any of the last possible 4 or 5 possibilities, at this point, are too stupid to take on the beltway bureaucracy anyway…

    1. Either of those two would likely wreck the country.

      Trump’s trade wars, his cracking down on media that criticized him, the thuggery of his followers would turn this country very, very ugly. Not to mention his sheer incompetence and whininess. If China or RUssia does something, is he going to go to twitter to whine about them being mean to him? Go onto Hannity (or any other Fox show) and pout?

      Sanders would spend to the point of making Obama and W look like misers in comparison.

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  12. What a sleazy bitch.

    -jcr

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  14. If one can sue the person/company that made the item that killed a kid, can one sue Ford because a kid is killed by a product made by Ford? Can I sue Lowes/Home Depot for selling the hammer used to bash a kid’s head in? Are we no longer responsible for our own actions and it is the fault of the person/company that sold us X because they enabled us to use X in a bad way?

    1. I’ll take this as 100% rhetorical and support your decision to sue Home Depot for emotional distress due to selling hammers that could be used to harm someone somewhere.

  15. Standing on the bodies of murdered children while strangling a puppy, the audience cheered Hillary on.

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    1. She wants to put about 218 million people in jail!

  18. I don’t care about Bernie’s stance on guns. One decent policy doesn’t make up for wanted to forcefully take money from people that do well in life, via (literal?) gun point.

    I’ll never vote for a free stuff at the expense of others candidate.

    1. “big government that will be wanting to forcefully”

      Sure wish you all had an edit button on your otherwise pretty damn good site lol

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  24. The entire premise of Hillary’s Vermont criticism is false, so the exact numbers do not matter. Doherty should be ashamed for accepting the fundamental validity of the argument and getting bogged down in the particulars.

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  26. RE: Hillary v. Bernie on Gun Manufacturer Liability: Common Sense is Treason in the Gun Control Empire of Lies

    Since when does common sense enter into the argument of gun control?
    It’s very simple.
    The ruling elitist filth controls the guns.
    That way our obvious betters will control us.
    What could possibly go wrong?

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