A Superior Court judge recently denied a motion to dismiss the Sandy Hook lawsuit against the manufacturer of guns used in the Sandy Hook school shooting so that the lawsuit can move forward. In support of the Sandy Hook lawsuit, Hillary Clinton shamelessly used the tragedy to try to score political points by painting Bernie Sanders as unsympathetic to the parents of the children whose lives were lost by supporting legislation that wouldn’t allow victims to sue the manufacturers of weapons.
While it’s understandable that people want to blame someone for something so horrific, first and foremost, the blame needs to go on the perpetrator of the shootings regardless of his mental state or any mental illness that contributes to someone going on a shooting rampage. It also falls to some degree on those who don’t secure weapons from people who are mentally unstable even if they have obtained those weapons through legal means.
If a gun seller sells a weapon without doing proper background checks, they should also share in the blame for any tragedies resulting from guns getting into the hands of someone who has criminal intent or mental instability. If the gun manufacturer knowingly sells weapons to someone who does not engage in legal practices when they sell the guns to consumers, they should be held liable, as well.
But the last two scenarios weren’t the case in the Sandy Hook tragedy. The weapons were manufactured legally, the weapons were sold and registered legally to Adam Lanza’s mother, and we still ended up with a great American tragedy. How are they to blame? And more importantly, if not them, who is to blame?
You may want to blame the medical system that doesn’t handle mental illness screening and treatment nearly as effectively as it should, and you can make a valid argument for that. You can make a valid argument that Lanza himself was solely responsible for his own actions, even with mental illness. You can make a case that his mother should have secured the weapons to make sure they didn’t fall into his hands.
The case you can’t make is that the gun seller who sold the weapons legally was at fault, or the manufacturer of the weapons who created them legally and sold them to the gun seller in good faith is to blame for the murder of schoolchildren. Suggesting that these businesses are liable is ludicrous. It’s like blaming Toyota if someone commits vehicular homicide while under the influence in one of their cars.
If you really want someone to blame, put it on those who allow the legal manufacture and distribution of semi-automatic rifles. These are weapons that are not made for hunting or even basic self-defense, but for mass murder in a minimal amount of time. The NRA shouts that people kill people, not guns, but they kill them a whole lot more efficiently with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle than with a hunting knife, creating mass casualties before the police dispatcher has even sent out the emergency call.
In other words, put the blame squarely on politicians who have taken so much money from NRA gun lobbyists that they refuse to put any kind of sensible gun laws into place and continue to support legalized semi-automatic weapons despite the increasing numbers of shootings. And particularly in the case of Sandy Hook, the decreasing age of the victims.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is so pro-gun and so dead-set against any kind of sensible regulation that he wants to put the NRA in charge of approving the next nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, according to an interview with Fox News.
“I can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.”
Not only should politicians who vote against sensible gun laws be the ones held accountable for Sandy Hook, McConnell would be a real good place to start if you want to file a lawsuit against one of those politicians directly responsible for a lack of gun law reform. But unfortunately, in a culture where lawsuits have become so commonplace, lawyers often advise their clients to go for whoever has the most money and try to get that big settlement, which will likely never pay off with years of appeals but will incur huge fees and commissions for them.
One could argue that the lawyers are exploiting the grief of the Sandy Hook parents and advising them to file this lawsuit against the gun manufacturers. They are the biggest and easiest target, and God knows it’s understandable why all those who lost children at Sandy Hook want someone to pay.
But it has to be the right someone.
When someone like Hillary Clinton, who just had a large fundraiser in March headed up by a former NRA lobbyist and who brokered arms deals in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation during her reign as Secretary of State, stands up and chastises Bernie Sanders for logically saying the manufacturer should not be held liable, it’s pointing the finger at the wrong someone on both counts and shameless exploitation of the Sandy Hook tragedy for political gain.
Fortunately, many Americans aren’t falling for misleading tweets and soundbites by those who wallow in dirty politics and shameless hypocrisy, but there are always those fooled by these dishonest attacks.
Even though the motion to dismiss the case against the gun manufacturer has been denied at this point, there’s still a good chance that the blame for the tragedy of Sandy Hook won’t be placed on someone who did nothing wrong. Yet the NRA and politicians in Washington who take money from their lobbyists continue to allow the legal purchase of semi-automatic rifles whose primary purpose is mass murder and to allow their purchase without background checks through gun show loopholes.
While there is no simple answer and many share the blame for the multiple factors that contributed to Sandy Hook, the gun manufacturer isn’t the villain here. Instead, the blame falls on the irresponsible lawmakers who put money and personal gain ahead of the welfare of their citizens then have the gall to blame others.
Enough is enough. The NRA and gun rights supporters need to stop saying that those who want sensible regulation and semi-automatic bans are “anti-gun” or against the Second Amendment. Taking action to prevent mass murders like Sandy Hook by closing gun show loopholes and banning weapons of mass murder doesn’t mean taking away your handguns and hunting rifles. It’s simply using some common sense.
Speaking of common sense, if you want to sue someone, let’s start with the NRA and politicians like Mitch McConnell, and then let’s vote them out of office.
[Photo by Susan Walsh/AP Images]