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Much ado is made over the law prohibiting suits against firearms manufacturers for gun deaths. Mayor Bloomberg recently said that we are allowed to sue car manufacturers for deaths, but, not firearm manufacturers and this is wrong. It is also not exactly factual.

Product manufacturers can be sued for deaths and injuries caused by product defects. The manufacturer is never responsible for deaths or injuries caused by misuse. Of the millions of motor vehicle accidents every year, only a very tiny fraction result in a successful suit against the manufacturer. Those are the ones in which a defect in design or manufacture is responsible for the accident. Car manufacturers cannot be sued for all the deaths and injuries caused by bad driving, drunk driving, bad weather and other factors. Exploding gas tanks, defective braking systems, even defective power window mechanisms have resulted in successful lawsuits.

Since I doubt that anyone, even Bloomberg, wants to sue gun manufacturers for deaths and injuries caused by lawful use of guns by police and military, I assume he is talking about guns used in crimes, accidental shootings and suicides. I think it is quite obvious that being killed or injured in the commission of a crime is the fault of nobody other than the criminal. If an innocent person is stabbed, hit by a car or beaten, the blame does not go to the object that caused the harm; it goes to the person who did the action. How is a gun any different than those other objects used as weapons?

Then we have accidental deaths. Accidents are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. They account for an even higher percentage of deaths in younger age groups. Accidents include motor vehicle accidents, drownings, falls and other unintentional causes. Accidental deaths by firearms are lower than many others including medical errors and traffic accidents.

Firearms accidents are very rarely caused by a malfunction of the gun. They are the result of misuse, improper handling and improper storage. Guns do not fire by themselves. The common “it just went off” is a lie. Someone has pulled the trigger. Failure to follow the rules of gun safety is the cause of firearms accidents. Guns, like any other dangerous tool, must be properly stored and handled. Gun safety rules are taught in every class and are enclosed in every box.

I agree that it is tragic and needless for anyone, especially a child, to be killed or injured unintentionally by a gun. But, this is negligence on the part of the gun’s owner, not the manufacturer. If lawsuits were allowed, under product safety laws, manufacturers could not be held liable for these deaths. The only objective to be achieved would be to bankrupt manufacturers with the cost of defending such suits. This is why they are specifically prohibited. No NRA/political conspiracy is at work here. This is quite simply, a means of stopping court actions that have no merit without costing time and resources of the court system and those who would have to prepare a legal defense for every pointless suit brought.

Lastly, the issue of suing gun manufacturers has been compared to the successful suits against cigarette companies. I am aside my own opinion of the shady legality of these suits, the finding and the distribution of the money paid. The crux of those cases what that tobacco deliberately mislead the public by claiming that their product was safe, even healthy, for consumption. Used as advertised by the manufacturers, cigarettes did cause harm. There are no rules one can follow to use cigarettes safely.

On the hand, firearms manufacturers not only admit, but promise, that guns are lethal weapons. They also provide rules for safe handling. If these rules are followed, guns can be handled quite safely. Just as a person who was driving drunk, disobeying traffic laws or purposely running someone down with a car is held responsible for his actions, so should the person who misuses a gun. If a child dies because they have ingested medications or household chemicals, the parent who allowed the child to access them is at fault not the manufacturer who clearly labelled them “Keep Out Of Reach Of Children”. The same standard being applied to guns is not the outrageous conspiracy the anti-gun fanatics make it out to be. Such baseless suits should not be allowed against any manufacturer.

I will admit that I didn’t pay enough attention to the “Universal Background Checks”  being pushed by the Obama Administration. I live in a state, Connecticut, where background checks are already required for all sales and transfers of ownership. Even the Brady Campaign gives Connecticut high marks for having “closed the gun show loophole”. So, I was perplexed when, about a month ago, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy began pushing for background checks and “closing the gun show loophole” in this state. I thought that if he was that  ignorant of current state law, surely someone on his staff would correct it. Yet, he kept stressing this every time he commented on gun control. What, then, could be his agenda?

The agenda, friends, is to redefine “transfer”, from its traditional meaning of transfer of ownership, to include ANY TRANSFER OF POSSESSION EVEN TEMPORARILY. This would trigger a background check every time you loan a gun to someone other than spouse or child. No exceptions for step-children/step-parent, siblings, grandparents, cousins or other household members such as unmarried couples living together. They would also require that if you leave your home for a period of time (3 to 7 days depending on which version of the bill) that any guns you leave at home with someone other than your spouse or adult child would be subject to this “transfer” requirement. No exception for guns stored in locked safes. So, you go away for a long weekend, leaving your guns in your safe and your roommate, fiance, babysitter, dog walker or any other person in your home and don’t do a “transfer” and background check for every gun – you are now a criminal. Obviously, when you get home you must “buy back” all your own property again.

This clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with preventing prohibited people from buying guns at gun shows. It is aimed at increasing the cost and burden of legal gun ownership and creating a situation where law-abiding people may easily and unintentionally become criminals.  Lying and passing this off as “closing the gun show loophole”, in my opinion, increases the likelihood gun owners may not read the laws in the entirety (if they pass) and thus be ensnared.

The Obama Administration, represented by Joe Biden, have pushed especially hard for their agenda in Connecticut and Colorado. They claim this is because those states have been particularly affected by “gun violence”. Obviously, the fact that they are both states in control of Liberals make them attractive, too. But, I think the fact that they are both states that already “closed the gun show loophole” , by requiring background checks on all sales, is the true reason. If they can get two states that already have highly restrictive laws to pass even more outrageous legislation, this is a win for them.

The Colorado Legislature has already passed such a measure which will most certainly be signed into law by their Democratic governor. Connecticut’s Democrat controlled General Assembly is likely to do the same. Interestingly, Democrats in both states use the same phrase to describe exceptions proposed by Republicans as “loopholes so big you could drive a truck through”. Coincidentally, all of these people have spent extensive time talking with Joe Biden.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that these talking points have been provided by Biden, at the President”s instruction. Democrats have deliberately lied in these states, falsely claiming that their state laws do not currently require background checks for gun show purchases. Naturally, the media “reports” this without doing any fact checking whatsoever. I have written to various local media outlets asking that they do a report on Connecticut’s current background check laws and/or question the governor about his false statements. Of course, they have not.

This is a deliberate, well organized conspiracy to mislead, misrepresent and lie to the American people about the reason, intent and consequences of laws being pushed by the Obama Administration. There is no reason whatsoever for these laws than to make owning a gun so burdensome that law abiding citizens will give it up or unintentionally commit a “gun crime”  while engaging in ordinary activities with family family and friends or in their own homes. These “universal background check laws” are an immediate danger to any person who owns a gun or lives with a person who owns a gun. Media and Democrats continuing to refer to these bills as related to gun “sales” is a falsehood that makes it sound “reasonable”. I am certain that if any gun owners or NRA members were actually surveyed in the much touted polls that say 90% or more agree with universal background checks, what they were asked is “Do you agree with background checks for gun shows” or “for private sales”.  I have seen no public representation that “universal background checks” means anything more.

I, personally, don’t object to the idea of background checking private SALES. This could be done without registration, although, it is not. At the very least, the background check system should be available to private sellers. I, as a responsible gun owner, would not want to sell a gun to a prohibited person and would take advantage of it, even if not required by law. My husband and I keep all of our transfer records, including an authorization number from the state indicating the background check was passed. This is required here, but good record-keeping is a good practice anyways. I see no reason that the state should also keep the record permanently.

There has been a lot of emphasis on the registration aspect of background checks leading to potential confiscation in the future. Although this is a legitimate argument, I believe the new definition of “transfer” is of more immediate concern. I also find that the gun-grabbers think their argument that confiscation isn’t going to happen is sufficient. Although we know that it is not, using registration/confiscation as our main argument is beating the proverbial dead horse. I don’t think we should stop making this point. I’m just saying there is another to be made.

We need to get them to answer for the lunacy of this proposed redefinition of transfer. Ask Biden if he does a background check and transfers ownership of that shotgun to one of his staff members every time he and his wife leave the house. Ask how many crimes result from people borrowing a shotgun for a hunting trip. How many roommates or fiances have committed crimes with legally owned guns stored at home while the owner is away? Not many I’m betting. Ask how reasonable it is that an unmarried military reservist must transfer ownership of his guns every time he goes to training or deployment. Ask how a gun locked in a safe can go out and commit a crime while its owner is away for a few days.

Malloy’s lies about the “gun show loophole”: http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/lib/malloy/2013.02.21_Gun_Safety_Proposal.pdf

Colorado Background Check Law Passes: Note the “allowing” guns to be loaned up to 72 hours and “immediate family”: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22799034/universal-background-checks-passes-colorado-senate-moves-house

I abhor the term “Gun Violence”. It is, unfortunately, one that is all too common, especially in recent weeks.

I detest because it misses the point entirely. Violence is violence. I believe we have a fundamental problem with violence in America today. Family violence, school violence and violent crime are all around us.

“Gun Violence” places the blame on the instrument rather than the pereptrator. It makes violence committed with a firearm seem somehow worse than all the other violence that is perpetrated against innocent people every day.

Laws proposed to prevent “Gun Violence” fail to differentiate between family violence, other crime and mass murder. Years of work by behavioral scientists show that the psychology of mass murderers is entirely different from other types of killers.

Mass murderers are particularly driven to commit their crimes of slaughter. They often plan for days or weeks ahead. While they may take advantage of an available weapon, they WILL find a way to carry out their agenda. They are usually intelligent and resourceful. They have the ability to research, plan and gather supplies.

Mass murder is not a crime committed impulsively by someone who just picks up whatever is handy. Laws do not deter the mass murderer; they usually plan to die during their slaughter. If one plan is thwarted, they make another. I firmly believe these killers will simply use bombs, start fires or use other means of destroying a large number of people quickly.

The plan of the Columbine killers was to use bombs. The guns were backups. Had the bombs detonated as planned, the shootings would be a footnote to the school explosion deaths.
The Newtown killer planned to buy a rifle to commit the murders. After being turned down at the store he where he wnet to buy it, he decided to take his mother’s guns. I have no doubt that if he had been unable to get those, he would have made yet another plan.

It is foolish to believe gun bans will stop mass murder. Even if they were effective, the laws would only change the method used. The fact is, gun bans or not, those intent on mass murder will find a weapon. We can’t stop these killings until we look at the whole picture objectively. We need to find out what is causing so many individuals in our country to decide to committ mass murder. As long as we look at the weapons above all else, mass murder will keep happening.

Other crimes where guns are the weapons need to be looked at from the point of view of type of crime as well. Gand violence, domestic violence, armed robbery, rape and every other violent crime will continue with or without guns.

I’m not saying there should be no regulation of guns or who can own them. I’m simply saying we need to look deeper to stop the violence. The easy answer is rarely the best.

I live in Connecticut, so, the tragic Newtown school massacre hit close to home for me. I don’t know any of those involved personally. But, I feel the grief that most of the world feels for this tragic loss of life.

I am, however, appalled by the exploitation of this tragedy by politicians, the media and anti-gun crusaders to advance a particular anti-gun agenda. They speak of “meaningful action” and “need for debate”. Yet, they want neither of these things. They continue to advance the same old tired calls for laws that would have made no difference in this tragedy.

Front and center is the call to reinstate the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. This law did nothing to prevent Columbine, it won’t prevent future massacres at schools. They fail to say, CONNECTICUT HAS AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN. The Connecticut ban is modeled on the federal law they wish to reinstate and the rifle used is perfectly legal under it. Such a federal law, if in effect at the time, would not have made it illegal to buy or own any of the guns found at the shooting scenes.

Next on the political agenda, so-called high capacity magazines. For reasons I cannot discover, they define “high capacity” as holding more than ten rounds. For some reason, they fail to consider that, if the guns had smaller magazines, all the killer would have needed to do was change the magazine. He had multiple magazines on his body. So, I find it doubtful he would have done less damage with smaller capacity magazines. He could have walked in with a couple of revolvers and a pocketful of speedloaders and killed just as many, for that matter.

Lastly, the “gun show loophole” is back on the agenda. The rhetoric on this is that to avoid background checks, all someone has to do is buy at a gun show. This mythical loophole has been legislated against in most, if not all, locales. Connecticut law requires background checks for all retail sales, including gun show sales. Private sales or transfers are supposed to occur only between those who already have a permit (background check done to get that) and reported to the state and local police department just as retail sales are. Do people make illegal sales? Yes, because bad people do bad things whether they are against the law or not. Once again, in relation to this shooting, it is irrelevant. Connecticut law already covers this and the guns were not bought at gun shows or by private sale.

Connecticut has some very strict gun laws. They did not prevent this tragedy. Perhaps, that is because not every tragedy can prevented. Dangerous people, bad people, crazy people who are intent on harming innocents will find a way to do so. They don’t follow laws. If they did, they wouldn’t be planning to kill people, since that is against the law, too.

It is important to examine every murder, to determine facts, to investigate what may have prevented it. In this particular case, based on current information, I can see no law or policy that is being debated that would have prevented this young man killing the innocent people he set out to kill. Except, of course, better security for the school including a well trained armed person on the grounds.

In my opinion, there have been murders, including mass shootings, where better gun laws or better mental health services may have made a difference. I just don’t see it in this instance. That is one reason I’m bothered by those who are exploiting the public grief and emotion to promote an agenda that would have made no difference.

There is a more important reason I am disturbed by this outcry. That is that promoting the belief that laws will keep children safe from bad, crazy people allows the public denial of the need for security precautions. Yes, if bad laws or policies, lack of services, overlooking symptoms of mental illness play a role in a crime; those issues need to be addressed. We do need to look at what is wrong with our society that we produce so much evil.

But, at some point, we must accept that the danger is there. We can’t legislate it out of existence. We must stop denying that it can’t be 100% prevented. We must work to protect ourselves and our children from violence waged by those who do not care what the law is. All this blame game and politicking does is promote denial and stop us from taking meaningful action to secure our schools.

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