On Friday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the Daily Wire editor-in-chief talks about a new Supreme Court decision to refuse an appeal from Remington Arms Company. Video and partial transcript below:
The Supreme Court basically ruled this week that gun manufacturers can be sued for bad people using their products, which is just an absurdity.
According to Hank Berrien writing over at Daily Wire:
This week, the Supreme Court ruled it would refuse an appeal from the Remington Arms Company of a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that permitted relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims to sue Remington. The shooter in the Sandy Hook shooting used arms made by Remington.
The New York Times wrote: “The case has been seen as a test of the ability of plaintiffs to pierce the legal immunity of firearm manufacturers in the aftermath of shootings.”
So here is the actual, full story. They make it sound as though there is special immunity granted to gun companies that do not apply to other companies. Now, legally speaking, that’s sort of true and it’s mostly not. So the reason it’s sort of true is because there is a law, specifically on the books, that prevents the suing of gun manufacturers for bad people using their products; but, the only reason that that law was formulated in the first place is because there was a bad application of law in a lot of the states.
Typically, when it comes to products liability, if there’s a tort, there are only a couple of ways that you can sue the manufacturer of the thing that hurt you. There are a couple of different types of defects that you can sue under. A design defect — so a product was designed and it was defective as it was designed, and therefore it did not fulfill its purpose. The product was flawed from the very beginning in the design, [for example], you design a car and the engine blows up as soon as there is some sort of car crash. That would be a design defect. Then there’s a manufacturing defect, which is the car was perfectly designed, but in the process of manufacture, then there was a flaw that cropped up and now the car blows up when you hit somebody. Finally, there’s a marketing defect, which [means] that something is marketed improperly. They say that the products can do something that it can’t do. The product says that it is, in fact, [non-flammable] when it is completely flammable. That’s a marketing defect.
Now the problem is that when it comes to a bad person using a gun, the gun manufacturer was not involved in either design defect, manufacturing defect, or marketing defect. There’s no design effect, the gun operates as it was supposed to. There’s no manufacturing defect, the gun operates as it is supposed to. And there is no marketing defect, because at no point did Remington say, “If you want to rob a bank, buy our gun.” Instead, they said, if you wish to buy a gun, here’s how the gun operates. Then somebody bad bought a gun or used a gun, and then the manufacturer was sued.
There are a lot of people launching lawsuits against manufacturers, because that’s the deep pocket. It’s very weird in Sandy Hook’s case, because in that case, the gun was apparently legally bought by the parents and then the kid took the gun from the parents, after shooting mom, and then went to the school and started shooting up the kids. Somehow this is the fault of the manufacturer, Remington.
So normally, this makes no sense. It makes no sense, legally speaking, to sue Remington. But what happens is that if you’re if you’re a good lawyer, what you know is that all you have to do with a case like this is to get it in front of a jury, because you got this in front of a jury and you sit there and the jury, rightly, is going to look at the victim, in this case, the parents of a kid who’s been murdered, and they’re gonna say, “Okay, those people have no money, and here’s Remington, the company that made the gun, and they have lots of money, so let’s give them each $10 million.” And that can bankrupt a company.
Back in 2005 — there were a lot of cases like this in the early 1990s where gun manufacturers were basically being sued out of business by various private parties at the behest of states, liberal states — so in 2005, there’s a bill that was passed that said, “Okay, we can’t have lawsuits that are being launched on false auspices in order to go get a gun manufacturer just because you don’t like gun manufacturers,” and so they passed that law.
Now there is this lawsuit by the Sandy Hook family, and the Connecticut Supreme Court basically overruled the federal law, which is incorrect. And the Supreme Court says, “Okay, we’re going to allow the lawsuit to stand.” It’s bad policy; it’s bad politics; it’s bad law. It’s very stupid. Like it doesn’t make any sort of logical sense. It makes emotional sense; it doesn’t make any logical sense. So what you’re starting to see is companies like Remington that are carving off sort of separate LLCs to limit their liability (an LLC is a limited liability corporation).
So what they’re starting to do is, if they’re being sued under the auspices of marketing defect, then they will carve off Remington Marketing, for example, so that way if Remington marketing gets sued, it doesn’t bankrupt the rest of Remington manufacturer. All of this is is not good for the law abiding gun owner who just wishes to purchase a gun. None of it is actually good for legal fairness in the country because you shouldn’t be able to just sue a company because you don’t like a bad person who used their product. It’s like suing a knife company because O.J. Simpson stabbed Nicole Brown. That would be a very bizarre, bizarre application of tort law. Yet this is exactly what the Left wants to do.
The Left has tried every avenue they can think of to bankrupt gun companies. They’ve suggested, for example, that gun companies be treated as though they are creating a public nuisance, as though they’re polluting the air — which is idiotic because again, I have several guns sitting in my house right now, they are not affecting my neighbors. It is not the same as a gun manufacturer’s spewing toxic waste into a lake or something. They’ve tried to say that they should be treated as a disease, that the Centers for Disease Control should study gun violence, which is absurd. Gun violence is not a disease, and I don’t know under what rubric you would suggest that gun violence is a disease. It is a crime. Would you study robbery as a disease? It’s a very weird sort of thing. Would you study robbery, like armed robbery, as a disease? So only if they’re carrying a crowbar, you then have to investigate crowbars as part of the problem?
All of this is designed by the Left to go after gun manufacturers and destroy them and harm them. That’s why the Supreme Court ruling is so indubitably dumb — it’s not only dumb, it’s incredibly damaging. So much for the conservative Supreme Court. Presumably there should’ve been four votes. In order to take up the writ of certiorari, all it takes on the Supreme Court is four votes. I’m wondering who were the two who didn’t go for it? My assumption would be Kavanaugh and Roberts, because there are five votes that have been appointed by Republicans in recent years. I would assume that Alito, and Thomas, and Gorsuch all voted to take up the case, I would assume that it would be Roberts and Kavanaugh who didn’t want to take up the case. But again, that’s speculation. We don’t actually have information on that.
It’s a very, very dangerous ruling and it does not bode well for the future of gun rights in this country. Bankrupt every gun manufacturer in the country can be very difficult for anybody to access the guns that they ought to have under the Second Amendment.