No, targeting gun makers won't stop mass shootings

No, targeting gun makers won't stop mass shootings
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

When the news breaks that there’s been another mass shooting–and not something like we saw in Florida, but a real one–there will invariably be a flurry of opinion pieces on how we need to do something to stop these things from happening.


On general principle, I agree. These are awful on every level, to put it mildly.

Yet it seems there are those who continue to want to blame everyone but the shooters. In fact, some actually think suing gun manufacturers is a solution to mass shootings.

As America’s gun crisis shows no sign of abating, there is some hope for reducing the number of mass shootings and killings. The emerging wave of lawsuits against gun makers echoes previous successes against the car industry, opioid companies and big tobacco.

In New York, California, Delaware and other states, new laws aim to provide ways around a near 20-year immunity provided to gun manufacturers and distributors. In Indiana, a lawsuit brought by victims of the 2021 mass shooting at a FedEx facility aims to hold a gun manufacturer accountable for the horror wrought by one of its weapons.

Lawsuits like the Indianapolis action, brought by two survivors of the shooting and the family of a man killed, broadly argue that gun manufacturers, gun sellers and gun distributors bear responsibility for gun crimes because of the way they design, market and distribute their products and there is evidence the litigation could work to combat gun violence.

The arguments are similar to some of those brought against car, opioid, asbestos and tobacco industries in recent decades, which led to companies acknowledging the danger of their products and pushed them toward more responsible practices.

Those lawsuits exposed the true extent to which company executives were aware of the harmfulness of their products. Huge financial penalties were imposed which eventually compelled more responsible behavior.


Except that gun makers have never pretended their firearms are anything but dangerous.

See, the tobacco and drug industries were sued because they pretended their products were perfectly safe; that they represented no danger at all. That wasn’t true, as we all well know, but these companies hid that fact from people at the time, thus putting people in danger due to the fact that people didn’t know the risks.

Guns, however, are different. Everyone knows guns are dangerous. Some people are still stupid with them, but that’s an artifact of some people just being idiots. It’s not because the gun industry pretends the guns are perfectly safe.

The implication that the gun industry somehow ignores the risks is interesting in light of the fact that people want to blame the marketing for somehow being responsible for mass shootings. I mean, doesn’t the marketing make it clear these are dangerous?

I mean, does anyone believe that a mass shooter somehow is oblivious to how dangerous guns can be?

What the piece doesn’t say is that the goal here isn’t to penalize gun makers for actually doing anything wrong, but to penalize them for now bowing down to like the gun control movement’s boots and stop making guns they don’t approve of.


Never mind that once they do, they’d continue to have to stop making various models of guns until there’s nothing left for them.

That’s just one of the goals here.

The other is to make it just too costly to sell firearms in this country.

Even then, though, mass shootings aren’t going to go away. They won’t disappear because too much of this is revolving around the guns and not the only true universal in all mass murders: The killers themselves.


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