2023 Leg Session, Columnists, Featured, Jon Caldara, Legal, Uncategorized

Caldara: How the gun lawsuits game could backfire on progressives

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

When I was growing up, the left preached principles like “the ends don’t justify the means.”

Apparently, they got very tired of living up to that concept.

The belief now is the ends justify everything. Case in point is Colorado’s Senate Bill 168, a maneuver in a coordinated nationwide effort to litigate the gun manufacturing industry out of existence.

Progressives, be careful what you wish for. Unleashing the strategy of “the ends justify anything” brings us to the brink of mutually assured destruction. The “rights” you hold dear, like abortion, might be destroyed by the very door you’re about to open. Read on.

As now it stands, gun manufacturers, like all manufacturers, can be sued for defective products. If your vacuum cleaner blows up while using it, you can sue the Hoover Corporation.

If your defective Glock 17 blows up while target shooting you can sue the Glock company. (FYI, Glocks never blow up, arguably the most reliable pistol ever, so gunnies cool your easily ignited jets).

If someone nearly beats you to death with a Hoover, you’re not going to get far trying to sue the Hoover company. I mean you can try, but the attack has little to do with the vacuum manufacturer.

Like the neo-Nazi who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing one, suing Chevrolet for purposeful misuse of their functional product is a losing strategy; the Dodge Challenger didn’t cause the attack. Duh.

If someone nearly kills you with a Glock, you can try to sue Glock, but the same legal logic usually holds up in court.

The twist gun-haters try to show in court is the advertising a boogeyman gun company uses “glorifies” how their products kill people.

But when gun companies advertise the defensive benefits of their product (stopping power), it by default shows off the offensive side too. And car companies show how powerful their products are, they advertise ramming speed to neo-Nazis.

Problem was not the gun makers losing these nuisance lawsuits. Problem was they were drowning in them, death by a thousand cuts, by design.

You see, gun makers are not like big tobacco or big pharma. They are not sitting on piles of cash. People are not chemically addicted or dependent to keep buying their products to stay alive. Gun makers are just machine shops.

The flood of ongoing lawsuits put several out of business. Colt, of the six-shooter fame, stopped selling to the public. Even Smith and Wesson almost went under.

That’s why, with lots of bipartisan support, in D.C. and states like Colorado laws passed to ban such nuisance lawsuits.

Senate Bill 168 not only rips away those protections, but it also puts industry-crushing litigation on steroids.

A newspaper libels you. SB-168 would have you sue the printing press makers out of business.

If the victim of a crime doesn’t want to sue an out-of-state gun manufacturer, SB-168 gives the state’s attorney general the pleasure of doing it without the victim’s consent. It even allows the AG to designate that gratification to another party, such as an anti-gun organization, maybe one of the well-funded Bloomberg ones.

Gun haters, do you understand what you’re doing? Yes. Yes. You’re saving lives. Isn’t that what anti-abortionists say?

So, let’s switch the evil gun in this scenario with an evil abortion pill and play it out.

Someone from Alabama comes to Colorado for abortion services and brings back abortion pills that are now illegal in her very pro-life state and a dozen others. And they are used illegally there.

Say Alabama copies Colorado, but on abortion. Their AG delegates a well-funded, pro-life legal firm to not only sue the pharmacy that gave out the meds to the woman in Colorado, but also the pharmaceutical company that manufactured them.

Just how many such pharmacies need to fight off these suits until they decide the tiny margin they make on abortion pills isn’t worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees? How long until the manufacturers find it cheaper not to make the drug?

Don’t think pro-lifers won’t follow your anti-gun lead?

Remember when the Democrats in the U.S. Senate ended the filibuster for judges. Republicans cautioned two can play that game if they ever got into power.

Now Roe is overturned.

The same caution applies here. Oh, and Alabama.

Consider yourself warned.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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