Dancing around the truth with the Brady Bunch.

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Graphic copyright © 2019 Bill Cawthon

The organization formerly known as the Brady Campaign recently published an article by Kelly Sampson, a litigation counsel for the group.

Ms. Sampson lays the groundwork by reporting on the judgement against Johnson & Johnson in the ongoing opioid litigation and then compares it to the protections afforded the firearm industry by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)passed by the House and Senate in 2004 and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.

Let’s look at her comparison again:

The tobacco industry withheld evidence and suppressed research that showed that smoking was not only bad for the smoker’s health but exposed others to similar health risks.

Johnson & Johnson was found liable in an Oklahoma case in part because it aggressively marketed products containing ingredients produced by the company to physicians to persuade them to prescribe those products.

Manufacturer’s irresponsible business practices fueled America’s gun violence epidemic…

What business practices? Making guns? That’s what firearm manufacturers do; they are licensed by the federal government to make firearms, which are a completely legal product. They then ship those firearms to distributors and dealers which are also licensed by the federal government. They are required to report all production to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and they are responsible for tracking every firearm they produce.

I have a Colt revolver that was produced in 1937. If I want to pay a fee and send them the serial number, Colt will send me a letter stating exactly when it was produced; the original finish, barrel length, and style of grips it had; and when it was shipped and to whom was shipped.

Since 1938, only federal licensees have been able to ship firearms in interstate commerce. Under the same law, licensed retailers have been required to keep records of all transfers, both incoming and outgoing.

Since October 1968, all retail sales made by licensed dealers have required the prospective buyer to complete a Form 4473 Firearms Transfer Record; certify they are not a prohibited person; and provide legal identification, which is recorded by the dealer. Dealers are required to keep all of those records as long as they are in business and deliver them to the ATF if they go out of business. Dealers are also required to keep a bound book detailing all firearm transfers.

I am having a bit of trouble finding any irresponsibility yet.

Since February 1994 dealers have been required to perform background checks on prospective purchases. In 1998 the FBI opened the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). When a dealer conducts a background check, he is required to enter the decision (Proceed, Delay, Deny) on the Form 4473 along with a confirmation number provided by the NICS.

Dealers have the legal right to refuse to make a sale if they have any reason to be suspicious, as in the case of an obvious straw purchase.

Every gun that is made has to be accounted for; every gun that is sold by a dealer has to be accounted for.

Still no irresponsible business practices.

So what is Brady, the newest moniker for the oft-renamed Brady Campaign, talking about?

Well, the Brady bunch, like other gun control fans, doesn’t like the fact that a federal law doesn’t allow people to sue gun manufacturers for the acts of other people, like mass shooters.

It doesn’t matter to these folks that the manufacturers have no connection to these killers and don’t have any way to control what they do, they want somebody to sue.

More important, they don’t just want to sue, they want to file so many suits that the gun companies will be driven into bankruptcy by legal fees.

This isn’t new; beginning with the mayors of Chicago and Bridgeport, Connecticut, cities and states like New York had embarked on a mission to do exactly that. Andrew Cuomo, who was Bill Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, cheered on the plan, promising “death by a thousand cuts.”

For this reason, the PLCAA was passed in 2004. There were even some Democrats in the House and Senate that voted for the bill.

Contrary to the popular myths, the PLCAA isn’t a a shield against all legal challenges. Gun makers are still on the hook for damages and injuries caused by defects in products, whether it’s a matter of materials or workmanship. They are also on the hook, both criminally and civilly, for any illegal acts such as failing to account for firearms produced, diversion of firearms from the licensed channels of distribution, failure to track shipments, and failure to comply with a host of federal and state laws.

But that’s where it ends — and where it should end.

In August 2017, James Fields drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia killing one person and causing injuries to 28 other people. In October of the same year, Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented Ford Super Duty truck into pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path in New York City’s Hudson River Park. He killed eight people and injured eleven.

Where were the high-profile lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Company?

Yet people like Ms. Sampson are incensed because a law protects a particular groups of manufacturers from malicious lawsuits when those manufacturers had no more control over people who misused their products than FCA and Ford had over Fields and Saipov.

They are much like hyenas, constantly attacking, hoping to wear down their prey with a constant barrage of lies instead of teeth.

Yet their strategies are consistent with much of the gun control effort: a consistent deception amplified by endless repetition.

As George Orwell wrote in 1984, “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

But we know better than that.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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