A Problem Only Government Could Create

The International Business Times has an article discussing the limited liability granted to gun manufacturers:

As the United States grapples with a rash of mass shootings, some are calling for tighter laws limiting who can purchase firearms — a politically controversial subject that has yielded more rhetoric than legislation. But another, lesser-known dynamic effectively shelters gun manufacturers from government oversight: Under legislation dating back to the 1970s, Congress has consistently adopted positions championed by the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association, writing special provisions that have effectively exempted firearms from regulation by consumer watchdog agencies.

Of course the article insinuated it is the fault of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which lobbied for the grant of limited liability:

Cementing these exceptions to safety oversight constituted a significant political victory for the National Rifle Association in the 1970s and helped pave the way for high-profile gun rights battles to come. Gun owners themselves, however, are left with little recourse to hold companies accountable for faulty products outside the civil court system. Whether gun manufacturers choose to recall a firearm is entirely at their discretion. If they do, there is no mandatory protocol to follow to alert owners, and no official repository of recall notices.

But this isn’t a problem created by the NRA, it’s a problem created by the State. The reason gun owners are generally oppositional to attempts by the State to regulated any aspect of firearms is because those regulations ultimately get used as a form of gun control.

The ongoing smartgun debate is a classic example of safety being used to justify a prohibition. Instead of acknowledging access control technology as something worth investigating the gun control community wants to mandate its use. That adds costs and unreliability, both because the technology is in its infancy, to firearms. And since the technology cannot be retrofitted into older firearms mandating its usage can remove all existing firearms from the market.

Safety regulations always sound good on paper, especially if they’re for protecting the children, but it’s only a matter of mandating too many safety features to make a production functional or cost effective to create a ban.

When the State passes a law it’s not a contract. The State can change the terms at any moment without the consent of the people. A law passed under the auspices of consumer protection has no clauses guaranteeing it won’t be used to create a legal prohibition. There’s also no recourse if a consumer protection law ends up being used to create a ban.

One has to be a fool to willingly enter a binding agreement without recourse that authorizes the other party to change the rules whenever they want. If people want to pursue improving the safety of firearms they should start an independent non-governmental entity to certify firearms much like Underwriter Laboratories. That would allow for safety certification that allows for recourse, namely ignoring the standard, if it’s used outside of the initial scope it was created for.

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