Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has taken it on the chin for telling New York’s Daily Mail that “I [don’t] think the victims of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer.” In other words, he’s defending his vote for the Protection of Lawful Commerce Act and rejecting the lawsuit filed by bereaved Sandy Hook parents. To refresh your memory . . .
The parents of Sandy Hook murder victim Victoria Soto are suing Bushmaster for selling AR-15s “knowing that the AR15’s military firepower, unsuited to personal defense or recreation, enables an individual in possession of the weapon to inflict unparalleled civilian carnage.”
It’s a ridiculous premise on a lot of levels. The DeSoto’s lawyers will have to prove that the AR-15 doesn’t have value for self-defense or recreation. And convince a judge/jury that an AR-15 poses a graver danger to civilians than, say, a bomb. Still, support for the DeSoto’s emotion-driven attempt to punish Bushmaster for selling a legal product legally has become a litmus test for gun control advocates.
The washingtonpost.com article examining the attacks against Senator Sanders claims that “the truth is complicated.” Scribe Paul Waldman proceeds to do an excellent job explaining the simple truth of matter.
The key line in that interview is: “I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people.” The question in this particular case would be whether he agrees with the plaintiff’s charge that merely producing an AR-15 constitutes knowing that it’s going into the hands of the wrong people.
But given that his first impulse when asked a question about it is to say that he doesn’t want to see manufacturers and sellers driven out of business, it seems that Sanders is uncomfortable with the idea of doing through the courts what can’t be done through legislation.
That’s a question that both he and Clinton should have to address specifically. A legal strategy targeted at gun manufacturers could succeed where legislative strategies have failed (and such a strategy would be much easier if the PLCAA were repealed), but it would be an entirely different way of going about restraining gun violence. There’s no reason you can’t do both — try to pass expanded background checks, say, while simultaneously trying to sue gun manufacturers into oblivion — but if that’s the strategy either one of the candidates favors, they ought to say so and explain why.
We can answer that question! Both candidates want to degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, by whatever means possible. Sanders’ defense of the PLCAA is nothing more than political expediency; he doesn’t want to admit his “mistake” (voting to enact the legislation). We know this because . . .
In the face of mounting criticism for his vote, Senator Sanders has announced his support for legislation designed to “reform” the PLCAA. Sanders says he wants to modify the law to put gun makers in the dock while maintaining protections for “Mom and Pop” gun dealers (the purported reason for supporting the PLCAA in the first place). But there is no way to thread that needle. Not that Democrat legislators would even try.
Barring the imposition of the rule of law regarding Ms. Clinton’s illegal handling of classified data, the former First Lady will receive the Democrat presidential nomination. Which will leave her facing a Republican nominee who can use the WaPo’s insights into her opposition of the PLCAA to reveal her antipathy to American gun rights. So there is that.