- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 25, 2000

That New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the race for the Republican senatorial seat in New York is not necessarily a tragic thing for the GOP if Mr. Giuliani's recent embrace of the liberal agenda on gun control is any indication of how he would have performed in the Senate. The mayor announced Monday that the City of New York plans to sue approximately 30 firearms manufacturers for their "negligent marketing and distribution of guns." In other words, Mr. Giuliani apparently accepts the idea that manufacturers of a legal product are responsible for the criminal misuse of their product , not the individuals who actually misuse the product.

Of course, Mr. Giuliani know this is nonsense; he has to. It is a line of reasoning that cannot be unbosomed with a straight face. and Mr. Giuliani is not a stupid or foolish man. Rather, this specious legal action and similar actions taken by other state authorities around the country are an attempt to establish de facto gun control through the courts, not the legislatures by making it inordinately expensive and endlessly litigious for firearms manufacturers to remain in business. Why make guns illegal when it's far easier to make it unprofitable to manufacture them? One nuisance lawsuit after another all of which must be responded to, of course have pushed firearms manufacturers such as Colt, Smith & Wesson and Beretta USA into an increasingly untenable position where they may no longer be able to do business. Viola, instant gun control.

It is, admittedly, an ingenious ploy, but one that is nonetheless fraught with danger because of the underhanded tactics employed. Whether one is for gun control or not is really beside the point; reasonable people can have an honest debate about the merits of the idea. What is not reasonable is misusing the legal system in this manner because of the dangerous precedent being established. By severing the chain of action-consequence, by placing guilt upon individuals or businesses who cannot fairly be regarded as culpable in any other but a lunatic universe, Mr. Giuliani and his fellow travelers have set the stage for a social-legal system in which anyone can be blamed for anything dependent upon political muscle. This is not the rule of law characteristic of a civil society; it is, instead, the hallmark of a society ruled by power and subject to the whims of those who wield it.

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