I'm not sure where to start.
Leave it to the Los Angeles Times to print one of the more bizarre suggestions regarding firearms regulation ever to fall off a California tomato truck. Rotten, diseased tomatos, that is.
Courtesy of Columbia law prof Jeff Fagan and the Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarmann comes the following:
"We propose a new way to prod gun makers to reduce gun deaths, one that would be unlikely to put them out of business or to prevent law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns. By using a strategy known as "performance-based regulation," we would deputize private actors -- the gun makers -- to deal with the negative effects of their products in ways that promote the public good.Guess who is responsible for reducing crime? The community. The people. The police. Now, police are doing the best they can in most instances. Which leaves the people, the community. And concealed carry (CCW) laws are making criminals think twice about accosting granny walking in the park. Unless the municipality has barred granny from legally carrying her concealed firearm but (as usual) has done nothing to prevent Mr. Scumbag from being armed as he hangs out, or looks for victims.
"In other words, rather than telling gun makers what to do, performance-based regulation would tell them what outcome they must achieve: Reduce deaths by guns. Companies that achieve the target outcomes might receive large financial bonuses; companies that don't would face severe financial penalties. Put simply, gun makers -- whose products kill even when used as directed -- would have to take responsibility for curbing the consequent public health toll.
"But here is where it gets even funnier (these guys missed their calling as comedians):
"Under our plan, Congress might require gun makers in the aggregate to reduce gun homicides from 12,000 to, say, 7,000 in 10 years, with appropriate interim targets along the way. Individual firms would each have their own targets to meet, based on the extent their guns are currently used in homicides. Or Congress might simply leave it to neutral experts to determine just how much of a numerical reduction should be required -- and how quickly. Either way, the required decline would be substantial.
"How would gun companies go about reducing gun deaths? The main thing to emphasize is that this approach relies on the nimbleness, innovation and experimentation that come from private competition -- rather than on the heavy-handed power of governmental regulation. Gun makers might decide to add trigger locks to their guns, or to work only with dealers who meet certain standards of responsibility. They might withdraw their semiautomatic weapons from the consumer market, or even work hand in hand with local officials to fight gangs and increase youth employment opportunities. Surely they will think up new strategies once they have a legal obligation and financial incentive to take responsibility for the harm their products cause."
Oh, and BTW, semi-automatic firearms -- whether they be handguns or long-guns -- do not cause crime. They can sit, loaded, for minutes, hours, days, even weeks and never hurt a single human being. They must be picked up and mis-used, most often by a criminal.
"So how exactly might this work in the case of gun makers? For more than half of all gun homicides, law enforcement officials are able to identify the precise type of lethal weapon that was used. From that data, reliable statistical projections can be made to determine each company's approximate share of all homicides. Each company's quotas would be based on the data, and tied to an ever-decreasing number of deaths.
"A more fine-tuned strategy would set different gun-death-reduction quotas based on the specific weapon -- with larger reductions mandated for guns that are more commonly used in homicides."
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And as the pro-victim, anti-self defense crowd continue to realize that their tired rhetoric about the effectiveness (cannot be proven) and the need (oops, fewer and fewer people believe them) for gun control, out pop "creative" solutions to the problem.
But they miss the point that the problem isn't too many firearms. It's a drug problem. It's a policing problem. Its a community problem. Its a political problem.
The proposal from Messrs. Fagan and Sugarmann is what is known in as "a solution in search of a problem." Actually, it sounds exactly like a government fix, even though the two gentleman maintain that this would work better than government mandates. Yet it would be a government mandate.
Their initial premise is off the mark, as well. Here is how they set the stage:
"This year, about 12,000 Americans will be shot to death . . . . Gun manufacturers insist that these deaths are not their fault, preferring to pin the blame on criminals and irresponsible dealers."Oops, there they go again. Pinning the blame on criminals? Once again, a firearm doesn't just levitate, spin around and pick a victim, does it? Only in the movies (but then again, this op-ed was printed by the LA Times).
Far more people will die in incidents involving automobiles. The auto industry has no Constitutional protections that were written in the 1700s, while the arms were and are protected, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court last week. But as safe as automobiles are made today, they still cannot get the death rate down below a certain number. Plus, there are no background checks for people before they purchase a car, either from a dealer or unlicensed dealer (that is you and me, if you've ever sold a car out at your curb, or through a newspaper ad).
No, desperate times do, indeed, call for desperate measures. Willmett and Morton Grove, cities in Illinois, understand the reality of our times, and foresee a day when they can no longer trample on their residents' Constitutional rights to make political hay. That is why they dropped enforcement of their unconstitutional handgun bans in just the past few days.
This amusing proposal smacks of desperation. I can't wait to see what comes next!