A federal appeals court dismissed damage claims against gun manufacturers Monday by the victims of a white supremacist's shooting rampage in the San Fernando Valley, saying a 2005 federal law backed by the firearms industry bars such lawsuits.
This seems perfectly clear and reasonable. How could the manufacturer of a legal product be held responsible for the misuse of that product by an end-user? The law suit arose out of a terrible bloodbath which took place in 1999.
Buford Furrow, a mentally disturbed man with neo-Nazi affiliations, took at least seven guns into a Jewish center in Granada Hills and opened fire, wounding three children, a teenager and an adult. An hour later, he fatally shot Joseph Ileto, 39, a letter carrier, in nearby Chatsworth.
Furrow pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. The suit was filed by Ileto's widow, Lilian, and by three of the wounded youths and another child at the center.
They claimed that the manufacturers deliberately made more guns than the legitimate market could support and sold them through channels that would reach a "secondary market" of private and under-the-table transactions.
The suit said Glock Inc., maker of the 9mm pistol allegedly used to shoot Ileto, sold many guns to police that were unsafe to civilians and ignored government warnings about high-risk distribution channels - in this case, from a police department in Washington state through several owners to an unlicensed trader, who sold it to Furrow.
I have to admit, that claim made me think perhaps it's not so perfectly clear and reasonable after all. Could it be possible that gun manufacturers are producing more guns than the society can legally absorb? Could they be completely aware of the fact that the only way so much product is going to be distributed is by saturating not only the legal market but also the illegal one? Isn't it reasonable to assume that gun manufacturers, like any other producer of consumer products, strive to increase sales? Is it such a stretch to figure there really was some merit to the claims against them?
What's your opinion? Does this entire discussion hinge upon the theory of gun availability and its role in gun violence? If you deny that, then there's nothing to discuss. But, If you admit that gun availability plays a part in the problem, then perhaps these questions about the manufacturer are valid. What do you think?
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