Democrat front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, intent on cementing her anti-gun credentials heading into the New York primary, yesterday attacked surging rival Bernie Sanders over his contention that victims of gun-related crime should not be able to sue firearms manufacturers.
UPDATE ( 12:12 P.M.): Clinton is getting lambasted today over remarks she reportedly made earlier in the week at a “private meeting” with lawmakers in New York. During that meeting, according to Reason.com, she “reportedly claimed that Vermont—home of Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination—is an important source of guns used by criminals in the Empire State.” However, the claim, Reason notes, is not true, according to data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In 2014, the report said, 55 guns seized in New York came from Vermont. That was a fraction of the number of guns traced to other states, or that actually were traced to New York.
If one reads reactions from Seattle Times readers to this morning’s story, Clinton does not appear terribly popular. Sanders swept the floor with Clinton’s broom last month during the Democrat caucuses in Washington State.
Sanders’ position on gun lawsuits actually has the legal high ground. Apply Clinton’s argument to any other industry or product. People don’t sue car makers because some drunk crashes into a school bus, or some loon climbs behind the wheel to run down a bunch of pedestrians.
A statute signed by former President George W. Bush prohibits such lawsuits. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was the Capitol Hill reaction to a series of junk lawsuits filed against gun makers in an effort to harass and even bankrupt them, and create legal precedent setting the firearms industry apart from every other industry in the country. The law does not protect gun makers from lawsuits over negligence or faulty products.
But that’s not what Clinton’s attack is all about. She’s trying to use emotion as a tool in a campaign that has gotten very competitive lately. Sanders has won a string of primary and caucus contests, and that’s got her rattled. So, she’s trying to demonize him for essentially promoting good legal sense. Even Slate ran an opinion piece this morning that declares the race between Clinton and Sanders “has taken a turn toward the combative.”
Clinton’s high-profile campaign against gun rights as part of her broader effort to get the Democrat nomination just might, as this column has posited, be hurting her in the primaries. And by no small coincidence, this flap erupted at about the same time that the tenth annual Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) fired up in Springfield, Ill.
Decked out in their traditional yellow garb – this time rain parkas and ponchos showed up instead of T-shirts due to Wednesday’s inclement weather at the Illinois capitol – legions of Second Amendment activists marched to meet Prairie State lawmakers. They want to protect and expand concealed carry in the state.
Deliberately alienating a huge voting bloc is not smart politics. Gun ownership is continuing to rise in the U.S., and the fastest-growing segment appears to be women. In Washington State, roughly one in five concealed pistol licenses is held by a woman, and there are more than 530,000 active Washington CPLs.
As increasing numbers of people exercise their gun rights, especially in the wake of San Bernardino, they’re paying more attention to the fact that gun control as supported by Clinton and her cronies doesn’t seem to work. Check the body counts in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C., where strict gun laws are in place.
Overall, violent crime is down, during a period when gun sales have skyrocketed. This further erodes the anti-gun contention that more guns result in more crime. Maybe more gun control laws do that, while keeping honest citizens disarmed.
MEANWHILE, down in Chehalis, the blog site Lewis County Sirens reported yesterday that a judge found no probable cause for a charge under provisions of Initiative 594 against a man who allegedly used a girlfriend’s gun over the weekend to fire shots inside a house. Sheriff’s deputies arrested the man early Sunday after a standoff that began the night before.
The suspect in this case allegedly shoved his girlfriend after she tried to take her revolver away from him. This all started, the blog said, over an argument about “a malfunctioning heater.”
In addition to being charged with reckless endangerment, fourth-degree assault and third-degree malicious mischief, the suspect was also accused of violating the provisions of I-594 because there was no background check for the transfer of the firearm in question. It was her gun, and he had it.
But the district court judge reportedly said there was no probable cause to hold the suspect on that particular charge. This was apparently the first time the Lewis County Sheriff’s office had tried to charge someone for allegedly violating the background check mandated by passage of the gun control measure in 2014.
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