Gun manufacturers should not be held liable for crimes and accidental shootings with their product Essay

Gun manufacturers should not be held liable for crimes and accidental shootings with their product.

The debate that has given birth to generations of activists from both side of the divide for several decades is not about to abate. The great question then is: Is it fair and justifiable to hold gun manufacturers responsible for crimes, or accident shootings, among other, committed with their products? This has been the bone of contention. This paper is arguing from the point of view that gun manufacturers, must not by any means, under any guise be made to be answerable to crimes or accidents resulting from the use of their product. They are manufacturers in business, producing  items that are essential to human needs, and useful for human existence. The necessity or otherwise of the product does not impose itself on any human being to use compulsively. Users acquire and put to use according to their desire for it. So they are simply part of the legitimate enterprise in a capitalist free society.

This paper shall examine what the real issues are, take a definite stand, and then throw light on the opposing views, and the points they are feebly fighting for.

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THE PROBLEM: An Explanation.

The society is grossly divided on the effects of gun use in the nation, and so believes that manufacturers should face consequences for gun misuse. One group believes that the procurement and use of gun is right and a symbol of freedom. The primary factor influencing this group supporting private ownership of guns and firearms are their belief that individuals are ultimately responsible for their own safety against crime. Whereas, the other group regard guns as symbol of violence and violent crimes, robbery, intimidations, accidental killings of the innocent, needless and annual massive deaths, injury and barbarism, and so should be controlled and taken out of the hand of the private and unauthorized persons. And in addition to that all the establishments involved in the manufacture and sale of guns should be made to take responsibility whenever an accident occurs or their product is misused.

The problem is the odd jobs guns and firearms had been put to over the years. For example, between 40,000 to 50,000 deaths occur every year from gunshots, either from accidents or clear murder. In fact, there has been some frightening high profile killing that shook the nation. Take for instance, an attempt that was made on the life of New York City Mayor William Jay Gaymor in 1911; there was also the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Not forgetting the assassination attempt made on the life of President Ronald Ragan, in which his assistant James Brady was shot and disabled. All these violent deaths has led to some public  outrage, with some activist campaigning vigorously for some regulatory gun control laws. And others had taken a step further by taking the gun manufacturers to court and be made to face litigations, and face the consequences of their perceived culpability in the manufacture and trade of guns.

The question is this: Does gun ownership cause or prevent crime? What should be the balance between an individual’s right to self defense through gun ownership and the people’s interest in maintaining public safety? Is it right to hold gun manufacturers responsible for accidental fallouts from their products from an otherwise legitimate trade? We shall look at the cases for and against these two sides and issues involved in it.

MY POSITION AND THE DEFENCE OF IT.

Gun manufacturers must not be made to take responsibilities for any accident, injury emanating from the use or misuse of their product. In the first place, the US law is unambiguous in recognizing, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right  of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.[5] This is a liberty granted to every citizen who so desires to bear arm. If that is the case, then someone must be responsible for the manufacturing of such arms, as they will not fall from the sky. So, gun manufacturers are entrepreneurs in legitimate business, just like car or shoe manufacturers. Their activity is not offending any law of the land. And their business dealings and activities are not infringing on anyone’s fundamental human rights. So the idea of singling them out for a peculiar kind of arbitrary punishment for an after effect of their trade is a witch-hunt, and so unacceptable.

Secondly, if a careful look is taken on the issue, it will be observed that gun ownership is a net benefit to our society.  Guns in the hands of responsible citizens are used to prevent crimes and save lives. A research from  Prof Gary Kleck of Florida State University Journal of  Criminal Law and Criminology, estimated that private citizen use guns between 2.2 and 2.5 million times a year for self defense. According to Kleck, s democrat and ACLU research found that defensive gun uses are about three to five times more common than criminal uses. He found that about 400,000 people a year deploy firearms in situation where the act “almost certainly” saved life. This exceeds by more than ten the number of lives lost each year to criminal shootings. So, why argue that manufacturers of guns should be discouraged, when their activities are saving 400,000 lives annually. It does not make sense at all.[6]

By the way, it is absolute nonsense, to come up with an idea of punishing a manufacturer for an accident emanating from the wrong use of his product. It is not done in any other business field, so why must it be introduced to gun manufacturers? In any case, guns do not jump up to shoot someone dead. In every case, there has always been someone holding the gun, aiming and pulling the trigger, and that is the exact person that should be held responsible for his actions. Whether they are advertent or accidental is not the business of the manufacturer. That a drunk driver hit and killed a passers-by is not the headache of the car manufacturing company. You don’t hold the manufacturer of a kitchen knife, if someone uses it to stab another fellow in a fight. Air plane do crash. In such event, the pilot or weather is blamed. You do not go out there to drag the aircraft manufacturer to court. Cigarette smokers die of cancer and lung diseases, you do not take the tobacco company to court. If the society is foolish and stupid enough to put guns to wrong use, you don’t complain to the gun manufacturers. You search out the offender and get him severely punished for abuse of otherwise useful and productive item.

Also, guns are manufactured on demand. There will be no sale if there is not demand for it. The people provided the market, the manufacturer saw the need and as an enterprise in a free capitalist society, he has to take such legitimate advantage that is existing. Again, guns are mainly sold, not in the manufacturer’s shop or outlet, but in bars, street corners, dealers, trunk of cars, stolen from others, or wherever. Is it the headache of a car manufacturing company id his automobile is sold under the three or in a garage? Self-defense is the first law of nature. If there are no guns, people have numerous alternative weapons of self-defense. You have the machetes, daggers, club sticks, people use bow and arrows, other s kill with various instruments their hands can find, we had never heard of anyone instituting a case against the manufacturer of hammer because a useless fellow used it to knock someone down.  Gun happens to be a more effective and convenient way of achieving same purpose.

In addition, it is not fair to stop a law abiding and responsible person not to own a gun because a criminal might use it and that will put the manufacturer in trouble. It does not make sense. In as much as it is not ideal to stop pharmacists the right to procure a [7]narcotics for the purpose of manufacturing a curative drug, so not stop people the right to own a gun for unsustainable reasons.

OBJECTIONS FROM OPPONENTS.

The main reasonswhy there are activist agitating to make gun manufacturers take responsibility for crimes and accidents resulting from gun shots is as a result of the estimated “50,000 deaths from gun use yearly”3. These are deaths from young people who otherwise would have grown to be responsible people in the society. To them such sacrifice of deaths does not make the right to carry arms worthwhile.

Also they argue that other hundreds of thousand sustain injuries and are treated in the hospitals, at the expense of the taxpayers.

Similarly, they believe that gun use is responsible for increase amount of violence, lack of tolerance, robbery, rape, violent crime, banditry, as well as decline of social courtesy towards others. They normally give an instance of a certain Tim McVeigh who “was convicted of killing 168 people”.4 The believe that children and young adults misuse gun, and that such weapons are not safe with children. So anything that may give them access- be it by stealing or whatever means, must be avoided. And in the event of a person, young or old sustaining injuries from gun use, the manufacturing company must be held responsible for such and should be made to pay for it..

They did not stop there, they argue that guns if it must be made at all must be built to be safer. They equally allege that gun producers do not do anything to prevent illegal gun sales, and that they market unreasonable dangerous product. They use philosophical theories to buttress their points. The guns are the “The ring of fire”, produces for “Smith and Wesson” to make a killing off with their guns.

RESPONSE TO OPPOSING VIEWS.

The argument that over 50,000 deaths occur yearly from the use of estimated 70 million gun owners does not cancel the overwhelming advantage of judicious use of gunshot saving almost ten times that number. If for nothing, more guns should be produced and distributed in order to reduce crime in our societies. One may look at this as odd from the surface level, but there is no evidence anywhere that societies with less gun experience less crime, and gunshot accidents. Take for example the case of Great Britain which ban hand guns in 1997 “under the pretence that fewer guns will help prevent crime. Now crime is up an citizens who defend themselves are going to jail[8].  Even with less gun, Britain’s rate of assault, robbery, burglary, murder, rape, and other gun related crimes are in excess of those that occur in US. Britons are being terrorized by bands of criminal.

Does it not amount to double standard for someone to say nothing when vehicles and automobiles kill people daily, only for such a one to be crying when someone sustains accident from a gunshot? Can you because, you want to destroy the business of manufacturing guns, deny people their privileges of owing and using their gun for hunting or sharp target shooting exercises that are legally recognized form of recreating. It is unfair. That some people are misusing an item does not mean that many others will not be able to find right use to it.

It is hypocritical for people who does not see anything bad in the kind of bad influence violence, crime, and death being glamorized in films, TV, video, etc, have on people, especially children and young adult, to now come weeping when someone sustains guns shot injury.

A check through history reveals that about 30-40 years ago, one can buy guns from across the counter, and even through the mail order, with relative ease from stalls and every other place where it can be bought. But there is no record that crime ever increased on account of those events. We have crime now because we tolerate criminals. We do not enforce existing laws that punish criminals and so they are emboldened. Again, we now have young people who do not respect authority, society or have respect for themselves.

Again arguing and pressing for a more stringent regulations or even outright ban on the use of guns, is a mere waste of time. There is no record anywhere of any form of legislation being able that has been able to reduce or stop crime. People must find a way to procure gun, no matter what you do to stop it. The only thing that can stop misuse of gun-, which is what should be the object of target for punitive measure, and not the manufacturer. It will be more practical to make laws against misuse of gun, and also make prison living hell, to discourage people who may want to find the wrong means to use their gun. That is where the “instrumental theorists” are missing it. They believe that the availability of gun is responsible for high level of crime and violence. So they continue to push for stricter guidelines for the manufacture and distribution of firearms

Furthermore, the accusation that the gun manufacturers are “marketing unreasonable dangerous product” and the need to make their gun into safer conditions is still baseless. Claiming that they must take responsibility for missing, stolen or smuggled guns are arrant nonsense. Yet the allegation that they are doing nothing to prevent illegal gun sales are meaningless. Is it the responsibility of automobiles manufacturers to fight the smuggling of vehicles bought from them?

Let’s take a broader view of the whole matter this way: The law did not say they must keep track of guns which are stolen before they are shipped. So they can’t be accused of poor record keeping. “Again, you can’t accuse them of lax security standards, either because there are no laws regarding minimum security standards. And you can’t accuse them of making cheap or unsafe guns because there is no law regarding consumer protection which establishes minimum performance and safety for such a weapon.”[9]

Granted, a manufacturer may be selling an immoral product in an immoral manner, but since they have not offended any law, in the process, why target them for destruction? They should be left alone.

CONCLUSION:

In this brief write up, we have tried to establish that those who demand that the manufacturers of gun must be held liable for crimes or accidental shootings committed with their product are merely trying to infringe on the right and liberties of the other fellow to exercise his fundamental human right of carrying on a legitimate business in a peaceful manner. We have advanced reasons to justify their views as being uninformed and vindictive and the issues had been exhaustedly explained. It is hoped that no further action will be taken against them or advocacy or activism demonstrated against their interest. It will be most unfair.

Bibliography

1. [1] The us second Amendment Act 1968. a LEGAL document of the United States of America.

2. [1] www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/talk/2.html

3. [1] Patrick Clement Violence in Excess. Atlanta, Exodus Publishers, 2005, Pp 58.

4. Michael J. Slebodrick, The Rave of the Gun Times. Crime and Gun Use. California .Pletra Publishing Co. 2003, Pp 187.

5Dr Timothy Wheeler, The Unnatural Death of a Natural Right. Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship And Political Philosophy. Pp 4

[1] Jake Brodsky, Boldren Arguments for Gun Trotters. Beltville: SIM Publishers Ltd., 2005. pp 201

[5] The us second Amendment Act 1968. a LEGAL document of the United States of America.
[6] www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/talk/2.html
[7] Patrick Clement Violence in Excess. Atlanta, Exodus Publishers, 2005, Pp 58.

4. Michael J. Slebodrick, The Rave of the Gun Times. Crime and Gun Use. California .Pletra Publishing Co. 2003, Pp 187.
5Dr Timothy Wheeler, The Unnatural Death of a Natural Right. Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship And Political Philosophy. Pp 4
[9] Jake Brodsky, Boldren Arguments for Gun Trotters. Beltville: SIM Publishers Ltd., 2005. pp 201