As annoying as it might be for some, it’s always worth keeping an eye on Hillary Clinton’s Twitter feed. You just never know what she’s going to say next in the heat of an election. Yesterday was no exception, as she returned to one of her favorite topics to hit Bernie Sanders on… the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was enacted to prevent gun manufacturers from being driven out of business by nuisance suits brought by Second Amendment opponents. Her new line of attack in terms of repealing the law is a doozy, though. If we can sue toy manufacturers, why can’t we sue the gun industry?
If toy companies are held accountable for endangering our kids, gun makers should be too. Let's end their immunity. pic.twitter.com/JHURkads8v
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 11, 2016
We’ll get to the specifics of this one in a moment, but it’s worth remembering that Clinton’s entire premise for attacking the law is based on deception. She’s made similar claims in the past, and even the Politifact Fact Checker tossed her under the bus on this one.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the actual substances of Hillary’s new claim.
If toy companies are held accountable for endangering our kids, gun makers should be too. Let’s end their immunity.
Parts of this claim are at least somewhat true if you don’t look at them too closely or try to pair them together. First of all, yes… toy companies can be and are taken to court if they “endanger our kids.” When companies sell a toy which has sharp edges, pointy bits or easily detached, small pieces which a toddler might swallow, they are liable for that and will wind up paying through the nose. This is clearly what made for a quick end to the popular Bag O’ Glass, effectively ruining Dan Aykroyd’s career in toy sales.
But all kidding aside, manufacturers understand the rules of the road. Toy merchants are required to clearly inform the consumer which age groups the toy is appropriate for, ensure that it is made of safe, non-toxic materials, and test it extensively. If they fail to take all of those steps and put the product on the market anyway, they will find themselves on the losing end of an expensive lawsuit. (And God help them if a child is seriously injured by the toy in the process.)
But toys which meet all of the above criteria could, in theory, still be used to cause harm in the wrong hands. That doesn’t mean that we sue the toy company. If some teenager takes a Super Soaker and loads it up with acid and sprays it in another youth’s eyes, that’s not the fault of the manufacturer. The otherwise safe and approved toy was misused in an illegal fashion.
Guns are not designed to be sold to children and it is a crime for anyone to do so. (And if a gun shop does sell a gun to a child the law in question offers them no protection. They will be in all sorts of trouble and likely shut down immediately.) If you find a gun on the market that is defective and has the potential to injure the user, the manufacturer is likewise responsible. But a properly designed and manufactured gun poses no danger unless the owner loses control of it through negligence or employs it to cause harm. That’s not the fault of the manufacturer or the gun shop which legally sold it to him following all applicable laws.
We don’t have a fact check rating system here at Hot Air, so I’ll just sum up Hillary Clinton’s argument in a less refined fashion.
She’s full of it.