• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Got a second?

The Indiana Supreme Court is letting Gary proceed with its lawsuit against gun manufacturers and distributors for providing guns they knew would end up in criminals' hands, thus encourgaing the "bad things are the fault of anybody with deep pockets" mentality. This is just fine with Paul Helmke:

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which represents the city of Gary in the case, called the state high court's decision today a landmark. Attorneys for the gun manufacturers could not immediately be reached for comment tonight.

“The Indiana Supreme Court's ruling is an important victory for the people of Gary and particularly those who have suffered from the gun industry's supply of guns to criminals and gun traffickers,” said Paul Helmke, the Brady Center's president, in a statement. Helmke also is the former mayor of Fort Wayne.

Many will make the obvious point that this is tantamount to suing car manufacturers because they know some of the cars are going to end up operated by drunken drivers and killing people. There is one difference, though. The way the world is set up, everybody needs a car, and some people misuse them; I can't avoid the people who misuse them unless I give up the car I need; the best I can hope for is that the law gets as many drunks off the road as possible. The only reason any law-abiding person needs a gun is to provide self-defense against those who misuse guns. I can't avoid the person who misuses a gun by giving up my gun. The best I can hope for is that the law keep as many gun criminals off the street as possible. Gary is as much as admitting it can't handle that. Anything that makes procuring guns harder will discourage the law-abiding and be ignored by the criminal, thus helping disarm the wrong people.

As a philosophical matter, I suppose the gun distributor is more likely to be culpable than the manufacturer, since he is in a better position to actually know who is getting the gun, just as the bartender who keeps serving an obviously drunk person is more liable than the liquor company. And as a legal matter, perhaps the court is right that the suit isn't prohibited by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce Act of 2005. But it's still the drunk who drives and the thief who shoots somebody dead who bear the primary responsibility for their actions.

This is a reminder to those who really believe in the Second Amendment (not that most of them need it) to never stop paying attention.  It was a victory when the U.S. Supreme Court finally recognized the amendment's guarantee of an individual right to bear arms, but the justices were so deferential to "reasonable" controls on guns that the lawsuits will never stop. And there will always be attempts like this one to do an end run around the amendment.


tim zank
Tue, 01/13/2009 - 11:55am

The level of absurdity this countrys' judiciary has achieved is absolutely amazing. Are there really that many morons permanently positioned in our legal system? I know, I know, rhetorical question, my bad.

Bob G.
Tue, 01/13/2009 - 12:22pm

Tim, it's not so much ABSURD as it is downright STUPID!

Seems someone forgot to lock the lunatic asylum and instead gave them all LONG ROBES and a GAVEL!

I can't WAIT to see the city of GARY when they attempt to decide WHO to sue FIRST regarding DRUNK DRIVING...
The car manufacturers?
The distilleries?
The dealerships and stores that sell these wares?
The bars and restaurants?

Cripes, stop the damn insanity for God's sake!

Tue, 01/13/2009 - 12:58pm

Well if the supreme court rules in favor of this, then there will be a host of other suits. Cars cause accidents by people who are drunk, on drugs talking on the phone, etc.. People die of Rx drug over doses. People drown in swimming pools. Hey people use knives to stab others.