11 April 2018

Make Them Pay

Gun control activists must focus on fighting for the right to sue firearms manufacturers.

Cars became more crashworthy, and hence less lethal and injurious, as a result of tort litigation and federal regulation. Cars are instrumentalities of death and injury, not because producers and purchasers intend this, but because cars are involved in crashes and crashes cause death and injury. Similarly, most of the people who buy guns do not intend to use them for suicide or homicide, but these outcomes can be expected when guns are in use. In the case of automobiles, the law tracks the recognition that cars can be designed and marketed so as to enhance crashworthiness. Damage awards and regulatory penalties have motivated automobile manufacturers to improve crashworthiness and to promote crashworthiness as a desirable feature. Over time, this has yielded major reductions in the rates of fatality and injury from car use.

Heidi Li Feldman