Tough on Guns

By Dionne, E. J., Jr. | Nation's Cities Weekly, March 8, 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Tough on Guns


Dionne, E. J., Jr., Nation's Cities Weekly


There's a basic principle: If you make a product that's genuinely dangerous, you have some responsibility for the damage it might cause. Oddly, this doctrine has rarely been applied to the manufacturers of guns. But thanks to five American cities, that's about to change.

Like the tobacco companies, the gun companies find themselves under siege in lawsuits. The suits allege that people who make guns should do all they can to see that they're used properly, provide all the safety devices possible to prevent their misuse, and to organize distribution systems that don't make it easy for the guns to fall into criminal hands.

The suits have the potential to transform the gun debate. Until now, it has largely been about laws to regulate the purchase of guns and to force registration. It's been a battle involving "society's interest in controlling guns versus the inconvenience to gun owners," says Dennis Henigan, legal director at the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

When the fight is cast that way, many law-abiding gun owners come to see themselves as under siege from liberal, big government regulators who want to complicate their lives and take away their hunting rifles.

But the lawsuits make gun controllers look less like advocates of a meddling nanny state and more like champions of consumer protection and corporate responsibility.

No wonder the National Rifle Association is pushing state legislatures to pass bills banning local governments from suing gun manufacturers and distributors. The bill introduced in Florida this week is a truly astonishing attack on local autonomy: It would make it a felony for any local official to file a lawsuit against the gun industry.

And this is no laughing matter. The Georgia Legislature lure already passed a bill prohibiting anti-gun lawsuits. And as Sharon Walsh reported in The Washington Post, such proposals are about to be introduced in Texas, Michigan, Kansas, Vermont, Wyoming, Louisiana, Minnesota and Alabama. The Texas bill will be an interesting test for Gov. George W. Bush and his "compassionate conservatism."

Gun control has been gaining ground ever since former President George Bush pushed hard for a war on drugs and his drug czar, William Bennett, argued that some gun regulations were needed to win it.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Tough on Guns
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?