Call for Regulation of Gun Industry Has Faulty Premise

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

The gun industry is one of the most regulated industries in the nation. A firearm can’t go from Point A to Point B without a mountain of paperwork, for example. About the only industry that can compete with it regarding the amount of regulation they deal with is the pharmaceutical industry.


But a lot of people seem to think that the gun industry is unregulated.

Now, this is usually not a big deal. It doesn’t take much to show just how wrong people who think that actually are. We can usually show them how regulated guns actually are.

Occasionally you’ll find someone who should know better but, apparently, doesn’t. An example is this guy who seems to think that toy guns are regulated more than real firearms. He also thinks that should change.

What if the United States regulated real firearms as stringently as they regulated toy guns for children?

In a forthcoming articleBenjamin Cavataro, a professor at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, proposes that Congress empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to regulate guns in the same way that it regulates other consumer products, such as toys.

Cavataro argues that empowering the CPSC to regulate guns would increase their safety without encroaching on politically charged issues such as gun access and prevalence.

Cavataro notes that subsequent efforts to introduce product safety regulations have fallen short because product safety measures for firearms are often seen as “gun control.” Cavataro contends that this characterization is misleading. Instead, he distinguishes between product safety measures, which seek to protect firearm users from dangerous mishaps, and gun control efforts, which seek to regulate the possession and use of guns.



What we’re seeing here is a call for a bureaucracy to oversee the gun industry, ostensibly to maintain safety standards, which might be fine for many if we could trust the bureaucracy to end there. After all, making sure you guns work as they’re supposed to wouldn’t be a bad thing, if you’re inclined to believe the government can do that job properly.

But the reason people call these efforts “gun control” isn’t due to a lack of understanding or mischaracterization. It’s because we know damn good and well where such a body would eventually take their regulatory efforts.

Think for a moment how the ATF started as a revenue collection agency and now is deciding what is legal and what isn’t. We’ve seen federal agencies try to say their ability to regulate waterways included mud puddles.

Now think about the GOSAFE Act for a second. This is, in essence, an attempt to regulate the gun industry. It’s not through a regulatory body, which means it has to battle through Congress to become law.

And a lot of people are opposed to it.


Yet if we had a regulatory body over the gun industry, the defeat of such a bill would only be part of what’s necessary. We’d then have to defeat that regulatory body when it attempted to put similar rules in place.

We call it gun control not because we don’t understand but because we understand all too well what will happen.

That’s not going to change.

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