AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter
Sen. Cory Booker is making damn sure no one forgets that he’s anti-gun. A good bit of his campaign at the moment revolves around his anti-gun proposals.
However, while trying to sell gun control during the Democratic primary, Booker’s made a very bizarre claim, one that makes absolutely no sense.
“Most people don’t know that consumer product safety literally — one industry that’s been exempted is the gun lobby. So we have different regulations for toy guns and no regulations for the weapons on our streets that are killing so many people.”
— Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), interview on CNN, May 6, 2019
“In the US we have more federal regulation over toy guns than real ones”
— Booker, in a tweet, May 7
“Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children’s toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt. In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.”
— Booker, in a Medium post, May 6
These are three examples of a catchy talking point from the 2020 presidential hopeful — that toy guns are subject to more regulation than real guns. The Medium post is rather specific: The Consumer Product Safety Commission, because of a “loophole,” does not assess the safety of guns. But in television interviews and tweets, that nuanced point gets turned into misleading shorthand — there is “more federal regulation” of toy guns, or there are “no regulations” for guns.
Booker’s point is not particularly original. Gun-control advocates have been calling for consumer safety oversight of guns for decades. But he veers off course when he compares regulatory oversight of guns and toy guns.
When the Washington Post is calling it BS, you know it’s BS.
For example, I can buy a toy gun without a background check. I don’t have to have a special permit to carry a toy gun in my pocket. I can give a toy gun to my kids (and have) without worrying too much about the Department of Family and Children’s Services coming to swoop down and take them away. Certain types of toy guns aren’t being banned because of how they look.
So where is Booker getting this crap from?
Easy. There’s a requirement that toy guns have an orange plug on the end while there are no design restrictions on guns.
However, that’s not to say that firearms get a pass when it comes to defective products. Lawsuits still happen. While anti-gunners like Booker tend to claim that the gun industry is immune to lawsuits, they’re not. They’re only immune to lawsuits that stem from the unlawful use of their products through no fault of the manufacturer or seller. That’s it.
If a gun blows up in someone’s hand because of a fault, that lawsuit can and should be pursued in a court of law.
The problem is that Booker’s claim is like many other anti-gun claims. In short, it’s about presenting guns as a public safety menace because they exist, not because people use them illegally. Invoking the CPSC is yet another attempt.
However, as the Washington Post presents:
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, said there appear to be relatively few cases of people being injured by defects in firearm design or manufacturing.
“My sense is, this is something that is not a material factor in the gun debate,” he said. “Certain products are unsafe because of design. Others can be unsafe from misuse.”
He places firearms in the latter category. He noted that more people die of alcohol abuse than from guns each year in the United States, including innocent third parties, “but you can’t make whiskey safer.”
That holds for guns as well.
No one is suing Jack Daniels for DUI wrecks. They’re not suing Toyota, either.
More importantly for this post, no one is arguing they should be regulated further because of the misuse of either. However, Booker is doing precisely that with regard to guns.
And he can’t imagine why we’re not voting for him.